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Wyoming's stunning weather and landscapes in time-lapse

By dpreview staff on Jan 15, 2014 at 06:00 GMT
Photographer Nicolaus Wegner's dedication to his craft has produced a captivating time-lapse video of the wild weather and beautiful landscapes of his home state. In the 14 months it took him to complete his Wyoming Wildscapes II project, he saw it all — from meteor showers, to lightning across hills and prairies, and 60mph winds.   
According to Wegner's website, consider some of the numbers behind the making of the video: 
  • 150 days of driving, walking, backpacking, shooting, and exploring. 
  • 20,000 miles driven.
  • 100+ miles hiked in the wilderness and back country with a pack full of cameras, lenses, time-lapse gear, and a slider.
  • 125,000 stills taken over the entire project. 
  • 20,000 photographs in the video that runs at 24fps, 1920x1080.
  • 75 sequences in the video. 
  • 3 weeks of burning up hard drive space processing, rendering, re-processing, re-rendering, re-processing. 
To see more of Wegner's work and learn more about the video, visits his website

Comments

Total comments: 231
123
MtEvans
By MtEvans (3 weeks ago)

Wonderful Work.

I particularly liked the Ghost Kollective sound track.

Imagine being a native American Indian and living through those conditions...I suppose that is why they had so much respect for the land because they could not tame it.

Spend 24 hours at Devils Thumb and you can easily go through a 30 degree (f) tempurature swing. Wyoming is not for the timid.

I admire your vision and your stamina Mr. Wegner--I know I am a l better for having seen it...both you and the environment have humbled me.

0 upvotes
Nello
By Nello (3 weeks ago)

That is just a stunning masterpiece! Loved every minute of it.
I'm in the process of doin' something similar but cityscape...i'm only at 30 secs into the project so I know how much work it is.
I also use a combination of mechanics and software for the panning motions.

1 upvote
Bluto
By Bluto (1 month ago)

Isn't is amazing how we see the world around us, but some things cannot be really perceived until viewed at very fast or very slow motion?

Also, I'd love to know how you achieved the very slow camera motion. It really makes all the difference in these types of movies.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Jas4
By Jas4 (1 month ago)

Hi Nicolaus! Lovely, thanks for sharing such incredible beauty and the fruits of your labor. I was wondering if spending so much time in the wilderness, and the effort it took to produce this, had a transforming effect on you in any way? Thanks to you and DPR.

1 upvote
archmonk
By archmonk (2 months ago)

amazing :)

1 upvote
papa natas
By papa natas (2 months ago)

What is a Marksman? I guess we all know that, from the Army. He is a refined train shooter.
What is a AK-47 shooter? This guy shoots all over hoping to find a target. What he gets somehow.
Old School panorama & landscape photographers used giant gear and a few packs of unexposed film sheets. An almost to none narrow index for error. Lots or spot reading, patiently waiting for the best daylight moment for better exposing. No room for editing effects, and shooting with chrome film was a bitch.
Yes, after shooting 25 000 shots it will be unforgiving not to come home with the bacon.

0 upvotes
Rocky Mtn Old Boy
By Rocky Mtn Old Boy (2 months ago)

This is, without a doubt, the silliest and unrealistic comment I have seen in quite some time. While I tend to agree that "old school" stuff was very hard to shoot in terms of margin of error (I have easily shot 25,000 frames of chrome and lugged a 4x5 all over hell's half acre), I also look at what this fellow has done with the new technology and it quite simply is amazing.

Judge by what you see, not by the perceived effort to achieve it - which in case you missed it, was extraordinary.

Bravo, Mr. Wegner.

6 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (2 months ago)

LOL.

Yup...papa knows best. Thanks for the input.

0 upvotes
papa natas
By papa natas (1 month ago)

Dear Mr Wegner,
I was just trying to add a bit of salt to the soup.
Just wanted to look like grandpa talking about his unbeatable Olds 88.
At no time had I disregard for your fine work and for the long hours spent outdoors as in front of the editing table.
Your work is great.
My humor a bit skew.

0 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (2 months ago)

Mesmerizing, stunning, awe inspiring. I'd love to see this shot @4K shown on a 100" 4K TV.

0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (2 months ago)

Everything is in 4K. Downsized from 5Kish.

1920x1080 for web though...

0 upvotes
Sir Corey of Deane
By Sir Corey of Deane (2 months ago)

Forests, old as the world itself... meadows... plains... strange, delicate flowers... immense solitudes... and all nature new to art... all ours... mine. Gone.
A paradise...lost.

[King George III; as quoted by Alan Bennett].

And I couldn't add anything new to the praise already heaped on this time lapse video!

0 upvotes
chris_bret
By chris_bret (2 months ago)

Wow, world class time lapse montage. I was there in Wyoming 2 years ago on vacation, really beautiful state, and this makes me want to go back and visit in winter. The scenes and music are just great and so relaxing. Congrats.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
unknown member
By (unknown member) (2 months ago)

Oh wow, that is very nice. But that's almost one whole shutter! Better get it right the first time around :)

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (2 months ago)

You can do this kind of stuff with cheap cameras, because 1920x1080 is a very low resolution for stills. If you don't need shallow DOF, the camera could be any 4-8 megapixel Canon Powershot, $50 used on ebay. Install CHDK for the intervalometer, and voila! Even a crappy camera looks sharp as nails at HD video resolution. I did a smaller version of this kind of work once (nothing nearly this majestic!) with an SX230HS, and even that was overkill for the resolution I needed.

1 upvote
unknown member
By (unknown member) (2 months ago)

I know you can, but the video above looks like it was made with a good camera. The DOF in some scenes, the tonality and the colors... Do you really think the above video could be made with a cheap camera? I would like to believe that (would save a lot of money!) but it seems like it would look worse if done with a cheap camera despite the resolution, because cheap cameras often don't have great color and would have artefacts from high-DR scenes like the ones with the lightning.

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (2 months ago)

canonagain123

I'm not an expert on this by any means, and this work looks like it was done by expensive equipment, but I will say that you can do some decent (great?) work with cheap cameras.

My SX230HS is 12 mp (I think, not going to check...) so downsized to 1920 on the long side the IQ is pretty good. I don't want to get caught up in pixel-peeping, but, I'm sure you know what I mean. To prove it to yourself, think of an 8-12 megapixel beater PowerShot camera in your head, then look up old reviews on the web. Download the images and downsize them to 1920 on a side. Could you live with the IQ for video? It is awful good in some cases...as good better cameras when downsized.

I only mention this because my thought process was just like yours when I learned about this technique, "OMG!! The shutter!" Might as well blow out the shutter on a cheap camera, if you can live with the IQ.

1 upvote
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (2 months ago)

5dmii and 1dsmiii. Shutters are just fine. They build them good these days it seems.

0 upvotes
sabad
By sabad (2 months ago)

Salute, seriously inspiring work. The music synch is also amazing.

0 upvotes
Timur Born
By Timur Born (2 months ago)

Very capturing!

2:22 to 2:30 is a neat trick, with the background moving away while the camera gets closer to the foreground. Did you change focal lengths in between shots there?

0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (2 months ago)

Nope, vertigo effect with post process work. Slider moves into the scene, zoom out in post. Works well with scenes that have several planes of focus available.

0 upvotes
The Richlie
By The Richlie (3 months ago)

Nicolaus - I've been blown away by this, watched it many times since it was first posted. It's certainly inspired me to research the techniques/kit used (even going as far as to write my own little application to create the pan & zoom effect for export in lightroom) and to attempt my own little project, which is yet to get underway.

One thing I'd like to know is what you did differently between Wildscapes I & Wildscapes II? Maybe my eyes are deceiving me but for my money there's a marked difference in quality between the two, with Wildscapes II having much finer detail and better clarity. Could you let me know what, if anything, you did differently to achieve this? (Kit, settings, things you learnt along the way, PP tools etc)

Maybe with the next project you could release a supplementary 'making of..' video tutorial? I'd certainly be willing to part with some cash in exchange for it...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 44 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (2 months ago)

Think the first WW was rendered out at 6 or 8 Mbps, the second was 20Mbps. Other than that my processing has pretty much remained the same. I suppose there is the release gap between Lightroom versions. There were improvements between 4 and 5...substantial ones allowing for greater dynamic range.

Biggest thing I learned during the first is do not under any circumstances shoot in sraw. No point, burns all those hot pixels into the file. Can't fix them. Lost several night time lapses because of this. Besides 4K and 8K are the future. Have a bit of an advantage with raw files from dslrs at the moment. Might as well make the most of every pixel.

Dunno about the video tutorial. Everything is already covered on sites like timescapes.org forum and the such. Not doing anything different. It's all about the time and effort you're willing to put into it. No one can teach you how to do that, you just have to go out and do it. ;]

Best of luck!

1 upvote
Badger1952
By Badger1952 (3 months ago)

captivating - thanks for posting

0 upvotes
Mattoid
By Mattoid (3 months ago)

I think the music sucks. I muted. Its not worthy to go along with a video that took so much effort.

0 upvotes
Rmano
By Rmano (3 months ago)

I really disagree. Matter of tastes, I suppose.

2 upvotes
sabad
By sabad (2 months ago)

Agreed, I loved the music.

0 upvotes
GCHYBA
By GCHYBA (3 months ago)

Gorgeous. Wish I had the money and time to pursue this kind of hobby...

1 upvote
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

I know a kid in Europe who's doing this stuff with a tripod and cheaper dslr and producing some pretty decent stuff. Time wise, it's all a matter of what you wish to pursue in life. Some people enjoy sitting watching sports on their time off, mowing the lawn, fishing, going to the lake etc. I like going out and taking photos, every chance possible.

If one is driven, they will do anything they can to achieve their goal. Everything falls into place.

3 upvotes
Zoron
By Zoron (3 months ago)

Redo when GH3 4k comes out..

0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

Would be a bit of a time waste as this footage is over 4K already, being time lapse via raw stills. ;]

0 upvotes
The Aussie Viking
By The Aussie Viking (3 months ago)

Give the man an IMAX Camera, crew, and a contract!

Makes my slideshow work look like crayon. :-(

You have the eye for detail, and the time and patience to showcase nature at it best. Keep up the good work.

Would love to see what you would do of the contrasts of Australia!

0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

I wish! If you can get me on Ron Fricke's crew carrying gear I'll be happy enough.

Kind of you to say though. Would be awesome to photograph Australia and New Zealand someday...dreams.

0 upvotes
Zaax
By Zaax (3 months ago)

What an amazing piece if work! Makes my poor brain hurt.....

1 upvote
bobcamm
By bobcamm (3 months ago)

Stunning...in every way!!
I've been to a few of those places and you've inspired me to want to return.

0 upvotes
jande9
By jande9 (3 months ago)

Gorgeous in every way. You have truly captured the beauty of the landscape. I have been taking pictures for 40 years and my best efforts are so far below this that it isn't even funny.
On a separate note, have you checked out the Skywatcher Allview tripod? It is designed for time lapse and its really cheap.

0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

I did not know about that tripod, looks pretty wicked, thank you for sharing. Could be interesting tracking a supercell with that.

Ideas are rolling. ;]

0 upvotes
Venkateshhh
By Venkateshhh (3 months ago)

Having seen such time lapses before I started watching very casually.
Initial 1 minute, I felt usual but interesting.
With time, those hot geysers /Springs held my attention.
I kept on appreciating the wonderful colors composition and enjoyed the dynamic perception.
From the night skies I was awestruck.
Those stormy clouds and lightning left me speechless and a strong impression on my mind.
Fantastic work and I am so inspired with everything including your passion driven hardship.

1 upvote
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

Thank you much. The way you stated your emotions is exactly what I was going for with the video's pacing! It's meant to start sort of normal, maybe even a little slow, then eventually start slamming you around a bit. Glad it succeeded in your case. ;]

0 upvotes
nwadnz
By nwadnz (3 months ago)

Outstanding photography! What is the music used in this?

1 upvote
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

Ghost Kollective. Dance of the Seven Sisters is the song title. They made it just for this video. Check them out on youtube, awesome trio of dudes with some great genre mixing tunes.

http://www.youtube.com/ghostkollective

0 upvotes
Wildbegonia
By Wildbegonia (3 months ago)

Stunning beauty, what a magnificent planet this is. Thank you Mr. Nicolaus for sharing with us. Inspiring photography.

5 upvotes
kjhants
By kjhants (3 months ago)

beautiful !.

0 upvotes
Bronze Age Man
By Bronze Age Man (3 months ago)

He should it again at double the frame rate.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
ThePassenger
By ThePassenger (3 months ago)

Absolutely amazing work.

I watched this together with my wife and we spontaneously decided to visit Yellowstone or (at least the US) this year. We´ve been there in the 90´s and it was wonderful but far behind this "big cinema".

Carry on with your work, Nicolaus, your page is bookmarked ;-))

0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

I should be sending a bill to Wyoming Tourism every time someone says something along these lines. ;]

Make sure to hit Grand Teton National Park too! Yellowstone and Tetons are so close they might as well be the same park.

2 upvotes
Body wise
By Body wise (3 months ago)

Astounding and totally humbling. Now, just how can you top this? He's "done it."

There was a very famous and now obscure film, Chronos, produced in 1985 that featured similar iMax quality 70 mm time lapse. This is in the same vein.

Triple kudos.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

Ron Fricke is one of my biggest influences. Chronos, Baraka, and Samsara, along with Tom Lowe's newer work are what really motivated me to get this project completed. All leagues above this little vid, but I'm glad you enjoyed.

2 upvotes
shaocaholica
By shaocaholica (3 months ago)

Loved the compositions and colors but the speed was too fast even on some of the clouds. There should be some semblance of motion continuity.

0 upvotes
leno
By leno (3 months ago)

I'm sure you are welcome to try your own version

2 upvotes
Augestflex
By Augestflex (3 months ago)

Awesome! Thank you so much for creating this and sharing.

0 upvotes
Laxtodbx
By Laxtodbx (3 months ago)

This is absolutely stunning! I love the entire composition of it and the highest compliment I can give it is to say that I think my blood pressure dropped 20 points while enjoying the sights and the music. In one of the storm sequences during daylight it appeared as if an astroid passed over what was that phenomenon?
Congratulations thanks for sharing this with all of us.

2 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

Just plane contrails from a jet. One of my bigger plans for this project was capturing ISON out in some of the crazier badlands, but we all know that comet never really happened. ;]

0 upvotes
summicron
By summicron (3 months ago)

marvelous.
a real 'tour de force' by one guy.
great soundtrack.

and...don't listen to dgeugene1...michelangelo and beethoven probably also gave him a headache.

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
dgeugene1
By dgeugene1 (3 months ago)

There is some poetry in the slow brightening of the light. The rest of it gives me a headache.

0 upvotes
frenchdream
By frenchdream (3 months ago)

Fantastic job, really!

just a side comment: the article says "20,000 photographs in the video that runs at 24fps"

however, 24fps x 6'50" = approx 10,000 frames. Why the double?

0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

Glad you thought about that frenchdream, I was considering the same thing before posting those numbers. My reasoning behind this is best explained in this link to one of the time lapses that was in Wyoming Wildscapes II.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=627775623953854

Hope this clears it up to some degree. Make sense?

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (3 months ago)

it will be preferable if the images can be used in the future to generate 8K/60 output (standard TV in 2020s) so better 60 fps or even 120 fps at planning and shooting.

though a lot of Canon shooters got their D800 + 14-24/2.8G and 24-70/2.8G, well shot 20MPix should be okay upsized to 8K for video.

0 upvotes
ZzzooM3
By ZzzooM3 (3 months ago)

Stunning! .. kudos

0 upvotes
Neil189
By Neil189 (3 months ago)

I am curious, did you see a lot of wildlife in your photos during editing?

Awesome work and dedication, and very humble to share it and your story so willingly.

0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

Yeah, lots of wildlife in the time lapses. Birds, antelope, bunnies, ducks, even fish have made split second appearances in the two Wyoming Wildscapes videos. I like to leave them in for photobombing purposes. Will remove a bird or gnat from time to time though, they look almost like dust spots.

Fun fact about Wyoming, or part of it. The Absaroka Range is one of the last true areas in the lower 48 that has a complete ecosystem...this includes all the large mammals, things like Elk, Moose, Deer, Bighorn Sheep, Grizzlies, and Wolves...etc.

Sharing is fun, thanks for the comment. The only time I have a problem with it is when TV companies or corporations want to use clips for free basically. They call it promoting my work, I call it stealing. Won't ever agree to that. Everything else, no prob, as long as credit is given, and it's either the Ghost K youtube version or Vimeo.

7 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (3 months ago)

some water birds or crocodiles may be good subjects for they pose still like statues.

0 upvotes
RedDog Steve
By RedDog Steve (3 months ago)

Very impressive, nice work !

Will the state pick this up for promotional purposes ?

rd

0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

Sent a proposal, but I'm not holding my breath at the moment.

Think it's one of the top google search results for Wyoming tagged videos on the internet. You think that alone would make them jump on it. Who knows... ;]

4 upvotes
leno
By leno (3 months ago)

I know its made me think about going.

1 upvote
daqk
By daqk (3 months ago)

Breathtaking .. literally. Masterpiece from hard working and devotion, with great passion. I can feel it strongly ... thank you!

Comment edited 35 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Hans and Lidy
By Hans and Lidy (3 months ago)

Wow... insanely beautiful!!

0 upvotes
Milton Tischenberg
By Milton Tischenberg (3 months ago)

Simply amazing.

0 upvotes
AlexBakerPhotoz
By AlexBakerPhotoz (3 months ago)

Beautiful, bravo! I went to your website. terrific work!

0 upvotes
Steve Bingham
By Steve Bingham (3 months ago)

Nicolaus, can you tell us what software you used? I think I see some Ken Burns effect, but that might simply be the slider. I am guessing PS CS6 plus some other software. You probably already stated this, but there are so many comments it is hard to find.
Thank you.
Steve Bingham

0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

No prob Steve. No effects. No photoshop. Everything is edited in lightroom, exported as full res jpeg, sequenced in Adobe After Effects. Any post work zooms and non dolly moves are done in After Effects as well. Last layer was an unsharp mask at half the default strength.

The changes made in LR were contrast, white balance, whites, highlights, shadows, blacks, sometimes curve adjustment, sometimes clarity adjustments in the storm scenes to bring out the cloud formation, and some noise adjustments for the night shots. I try to start with a nicely exposed raw file. From there, not much effort is required in post. The most time consuming part of all of this was removing the dust spots. They take FOREVER, and usually had to export and test things several times before I got rid of the majority of them. Hope this helps.

6 upvotes
SRT3lkt
By SRT3lkt (3 months ago)

Is there any particular reason using the LR instead of the ACR in the After Effects for raw process?

0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

Not sure. Have just always found raw processing in lightroom awesome and super quick. Never enjoyed the controls or layout in Adobe Camera Raw, even though they are fairly similar. The highlight and shadow tools rock in LR, plus it's the only program I've found that reliably batch processes dust spot removal without jacking up between frames. It goes a little bonkers from time to time but is easy enough to fix. And it's the program I use for cataloging so it just makes sense to start the process there.

1 upvote
Steve Bingham
By Steve Bingham (3 months ago)

Thanks, Nickolaus! I am, as we speak, uploading to Vimeo. I have seen your work there - and love it. Mine is a photo essay of Ghost Towns of the Old West - including Wyoming! :) It is 30 minutes at 1080i with great original music and 200 images, recorded just for the video. My second trip. The 1st time had ONE photo screwed up. Pretty time consuming at that rez. :)

I used PS CS6 and ProShow Gold. The Blu-ray version is for sale, but not here!!!!!!

0 upvotes
Howard Prendergast
By Howard Prendergast (3 months ago)

SWEEEET! Nicolaus, great job man. You had me totally captivated looking at that for both creative and technical reasons. Well done.

0 upvotes
Al Valentino
By Al Valentino (3 months ago)

Wonderful job. Been there and miss it terribly

0 upvotes
DidierV
By DidierV (3 months ago)

Very Nice 1

0 upvotes
photahmo
By photahmo (3 months ago)

wow that is great work!

0 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (3 months ago)

Man, get that guy a cheeseburger and a beer. ;)

Carl

2 upvotes
AndreaMadaro
By AndreaMadaro (3 months ago)

Good Job, but.......Ron Fricke , know you Ron Fricke? he makes a similar film called Chronos (1985) and Baraka (1992)... he is impressive!

0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

Yup, both he (the old) and Tom Lowe (the new) are who inspired me most. Although I pick up inspiration from just about everything these days that has to do with photography or video. Looking to shoot some real time footage possibly in the next project. Will see how things go.

0 upvotes
AndreaMadaro
By AndreaMadaro (3 months ago)

I understand. I think that a good timelapse will be have a good story, like baraka, baraka story is "the human contamination in the world of the nature".
If you ramake a good work like this i belive you will make the perfection! Congrats!

0 upvotes
CeleryBeats
By CeleryBeats (3 months ago)

That is awesome work sir! Congratulations on a fine job like that and thanks for sharing it with the world!

Bookmarked with a capital B :D Whenever i finally decide to give timelapse a go i'll use this as a source of inspiration.

Cheers!

4 upvotes
JT_FD
By JT_FD (3 months ago)

Jaw-droppingly impressive. On every level.

0 upvotes
philzucker
By philzucker (3 months ago)

Second that. Watched it last evening on a big flat screen TV. What a lot of work, and how well done. Liked every moment of it.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 231
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