The Spring Mountains Lime Lapse 3 video features high desert summer monsoon season clouds and night sky scenes. The video segments were filmed on the western slopes of the Spring Mountains in southern Nevada and several views overlook the Pahrump Valley city lights at night. An instrumental music soundtrack was created with computer software for each video. This collection of time lapse shorts is the last in the Spring Mountains summer monsoon series, which is offered as a YouTube playlist.
The time lapse sessions were done as often as possible during the summer storm season. There were days when the storms were too violent for an outing, which also resulted in closures because of extensive flash flood damage. The roads on Mt Charleston were practically wiped out and access to the western slopes of the Spring Mountains was denied for a while too. Roads in the neighboring California Mojave Desert were also swept away and Death Valley National Park suffered so much damage that the park had to completely close. In fact Death Valley still has limited access because it will likely take several years to clear it all up.
As can be gathered, the monsoon season flash floods are nothing to mess around with, especially when camping or doing a lengthy time lapse session. Always heed the weather service warnings and shelter in a safe place on high ground when these events occur. If the roads washout, you likely will be trapped, so it is best to not venture too far into remote places this time of year if the skies are threatening.
Monsoon season clouds certainly do put on a dramatic show that easily captures attention. These powerful low pressure areas have a way of stirring up the atmosphere when colliding with high pressure systems. Several cloud formations can be moving in completely different directions at one time, which really looks awesome when viewed as time lapse.
There are a few night sky scenes that show eery looking clouds passing by under the stars. The bright glow of the Las Vegas city lights can be seen coming from the other side of the mountains, which provides plenty of ambient light on a new moon night. The Pahrump city lights also cast a soft glow on the mountains and any overcast at night will cause the ambient light to become much brighter.
When just capturing clouds and possible meteor streaks at night, the ambient light special effects do come in handy for dimly lighting up both the landscape and clouds in the finished video. The trick is to get the ISO high enough to capture what is going on, without blowing out the white highlights on the brightly lit clouds. Those who use an aperture faster than ƒ/2.8 will really have to exert some ISO control or the night scene may end up looking like bright daylight.
Speaking of meteors, the annual Leonid Meteor Shower was not a disappointment last summer. Hundreds of small thin streaks could be seen each night and many can be spotted in this video. When higher up on the mountain I saw a few low level sizzling fireballs that could actually be heard in the deafening silence. Low level fireballs are a dream come true for meteor photographers, so be sure to keep the western slopes of the Spring Mountains in mind.
The big blue streak in the night sky can be seen clearly in the Spring Mountains Time Lapse 3 video. This streak appears when looking east north east above the horizon at about the same time every night, so it must be a space station or a bright big satellite. When the image is expanded more than 100%, the object almost looks like a cluster of meteors, but it does not take long to figure out that it is something else.
Each time lapse video clip actually was planned as a one hour session, so the camera position could be changed often in order to capture a variety of views. Not everything goes as planned and many sessions had to be cut short, because of rain, brightly lit four wheelers causing lens flares, dust storms or any number of other unpredictable reasons. Many clips ended up being shorter than expected and segments less than 6 seconds are usually tossed out.
Capture what you can was the name of the game during the summer monsoon season sessions and I was constantly refreshing my memory concerning camera settings. It had been more than one year since I did any outdoor photography while taking a hiatus from the very lengthy Covid camping tour. I had a lot of catching up to do and got down on it.
A clouds or night sky time lapse video definitely is as much of a study, as it is entertainment. A lot of insight can be gained about the summer season environmental conditions that a visitor will face while on location. This is why these videos are tied into the Destination West website, so be sure to have a look!
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