This Amazing Time-Lapse Video of the ‘Midnight Sun’ Will Make You Want to Visit Iceland
Why do you travel? This was the question asked by the X PRIZE Foundation in its video contest that came with a $10,000 National Geographic Expedition as its grand prize.
The winner was recently announced, revealing this stunning time-lapsed video that shows the natural phenomenon known as the “Icelandic Midnight Sun” — a time when the sun never fully sets.
Videographer and traveler Joe Capra shot more than 38,000 images to create this 4:11 video. Learn Capra’s answer to the contest’s question in “Midnight Sun | Iceland”:
Wired has more on Capra’s film:
The Los Angeles-based Capra first became enamored with Iceland after seeing the work of another photographer online. “I had to go,” he recalls, “so I saved up all of my vacation days and bought a ticket.” He went during the summer, when the days never really end and the island is constantly bathed in a flattering light. Photographers often speak reverently of the “golden hour” — the first and last hours of light during the day — as the ideal time to shoot, the time when the light is softer and shadows are longer. But during the Icelandic summer, the golden hour becomes five, six, or seven hours of every day, a photographer’s dream.
For Capra, however, it was a sleepless dream, as the midnight sun allowed him to shoot most of his 38,000 images between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. A typical scene took about a half hour, and the resulting 300 to 900 images would be edited and compressed into a few-seconds clip. Some shots use a stationary vantage point, but Capra prefers “motion control,” which pans or tracks across a landscape in a more natural, engaging way.
“Before this equipment was commercially available,” Capra recalls, “I had to custom make my own tracking device” that moves the camera smoothly and slowly along a track. When the images are compressed and the half hour becomes three seconds, the tracking turns into a naturally paced movement.
The contest was sponsored by the non-profit X PRIZE Foundation, which seeks to ”bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity, thereby inspiring the formation of new industries and the revitalization of markets that are currently stuck due to existing failures or a commonly held belief that a solution is not possible.” In order to address these challenges, it hosts these “large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development worth far more than the prize itself.”
Capra first compiled and posted “Midnight Sun” on his Vimeo channel in 2011 and then submitted it for the contest, which stopped taking submissions in April 2012. Public voting, which began on April 12, helped choose the winner.
In his Vimeo post, Capra calls Iceland a “landscape photographers paradise and playground” that should be at the top of their lists of places to visit. He explains that during the time of the midnight sun, the sun travels horizontally across the horizon, which he shows in the opening shot of his video and at the :51 seconds.
Check out the videos from the other three finalists here.
[H/T Business Insider]
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