Time-lapse photography of clouds and other phenomena in the sky

Martin Setvak

Gallery 2018 - Samsung NX500 and Ricoh GXR A16 (24-85mm)

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My timelapsing gear presently consists of two APS-C cameras: Samsung NX500 (with Samyang 12mm F2.0 NCS CS and Samyang 8mm F2.8 UMC Fisheye II lenses) and Ricoh GXR camera with its A16 (24-85mm) zoom unit. Comments on why I use these cameras can be found in the Introduction to time-lapse photography page, and my typical settings and additional comments on timelapsing with Ricoh cameras are here. Notes on timelapsing with the Samsung NX500 can be found hereAll the times below are given in UTC (GMT).

In the wake of Madeira,  2018-02-11  

Cloud wakes forming downwind of isolated islands (such as Madeira) or groups of islands (e.g. Canary Islands) are rather a common feature in many parts of the world. These cloud wakes can have a form of a simple cloud-free "gap" in the clouds, sometimes (as in this case) the gap can be partially filled by a cloud-plume forming inside the wake and often propagating upwind, towards the island. In many other cases clouds in the wake can form a series of smaller eddies, forming close to the island, which grow as they propagate downwind, away from the island (called Carman vortex street, or just simply Carman vortices). This case shows an example of such a cloud wake (the simple form), as documented by Meteosat-9 satellite, and also as captured from ground, in two timelapse series.  

08:00 - 19:00 UTC,  Meteosat-9 (MSG-2) SEVIRI HRV band, interval 5 minutes, speed 7500x 
See also the stand-alone HRV images taken at 12:15 UTC and 18:30 UTC, at times matching the two timelapse movies below. The red dots in these indicate locations from which the two timelapse movies below were taken.

11:52 - 12:42 UTC  (0h 50m)
Samsung NX 500 & Samyang 8mm F2.8 UMC Fisheye II,  interval 2 seconds, speed 60x  
20180211_1152-1242utc_Madeira_Garajau_1728x1080.mp4  (101 MB)

This timelapse sequence shows the eastern edge of the cloud wake, as taken from Garajau at the south-east coast of Madeira, 12:15 UTC, southward view. By this time, the eastern edge wasn't anymore as compact as earlier morning, and the "edge" had rather a wave-like structure. Some of the waves seemed to be rotating along their horizontal axis, as can be seen in later part of this sequence. 

18:40 - 19:30 UTC  (0h 50m)
Samsung NX 500 & Samyang 8mm F2.8 UMC Fisheye II,  interval 2 seconds, speed 60x  
20180211_1840-1930utc_Madeira_Paul-do-Mar_1920x1080.mp4 (106 MB)

In this sunset to dusk timelapse sequence, taken from Paul do Mar at the south-west coast of Madeira (18:30 UTC, westward view), the camera captured cloud waves forming along the coast, roughly perpendicular to the western edge of the wake. The (partially precipitating) western edge itself can be seen at right part of these frames, just above the sea level.

Above clouds of Madeira (Pico Ruivu)2018-02-15  12:05 - 13:05 UTC (1h 00m) 
Samsung NX500 + Samyang 12mm,  interval 4 seconds, speed 120x

20180215_1205-1305utc_Madeira_Pico-Ruivo_1920x1080.mp4  (64 MB)

"Ocean of clouds" captured from Pico Ruivo (1862 m), highest mountain of Madeira, Portugal.

Zodiacal light from Madeira,  2018-02-12 and 2018-02-15   

When planning our vacation at Madeira (when to go and where to stay), I was taking into account my desire to see and timelapse dark nocturnal sky, in the evenings variegated by the Zodiacal light. Since I knew that Madeira is rather suffering from heavy light pollution, namely at the southern coast, we were looking for a site which is not light-polluted that much as the rest of the coast there. In the end, we decided to stay at Paul do Mar, a small town at south-west coast of the island (in this image indicated by a red dot on the coast).

2018-02-12 19:35 - 22:50 UTC  (3h 15m)
Samsung NX 500 & Samyang 8mm F2.8 UMC Fisheye II,  interval 20 seconds, speed 600x
ISO 3200, exposure 15 seconds, F/2.8
20180212_1935-2250utc_Madeira_Paul-do-Mar_1760x1080.mp4  (44 MB)

This timelapse movie was taken from a cliff some 150 m above Paul do Mar, where I was hoping to find somewhat darker conditions, escaping from the worst, the street lights. Though the sky above was more or less sufficiently dark, the lights of the town were still bright enough to illuminate the surroundings there (and cast my shadow on the nearby vegetation, while irregularly checking my camera). In the end, the illuminated cliffs, vegetation and clouds contributed nicely to the overall impression of this timelapse movie.

2018-02-15 20:25 - 21:00 UTC  (0h 35m)
Samsung NX 500 & Samyang 8mm F2.8 UMC Fisheye II,  interval 20 seconds, speed 500x
ISO 3200, exposure 15 seconds, F/2.8
20180215_2025-2100utc_Madeira_ER105_1760x1080.mp4  (14 MB)

Despite the nice timelapse movie from the cliffs, I was still hoping for at least one clear night we could spend timelapsing from a location somewhere higher in the mountains. In the end, we managed to take at least this very short timelapse sequence of the Zodiacal light from an altitude of about 1300m (in this image indicated by a red dot inland). Unfortunately, the weather was unmerciful and has hidden the spectacular Zodiacal light (reaching some 70° high above the local horizon) by a thick layer of clouds. Besides the Zodiacal light, you may also notice the greenish airglow (nightglow), spreading from Zodiacal light to the right, lower in the sky. This nightglow can also be nicely seen in the Suomi-NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band image, as a much brighter featureless area over the NW Africa and SW Europe.

From dusk to sunrise, Jankovská Lhota.  2018-05-07/08  18:10-03:50 UTC (09h 40m)
Samsung NX 500 & Samyang 8mm F2.8 UMC Fisheye II,  interval 30 seconds, speed 900x
ISO 3200, exposure 25 seconds, F/2.8

20180507-08_1810-0340utc_MW_Jankovska-Lhota_1920x1080.mp4  (XX MB)


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