Another time-lapse landscape video from Christoph Malin

Do you remember the guest post on Time-lapse Landscape Astrophotography from Christoph Malin? He just sent me his latest video. Enjoy:

Teaser: "The Island" - La Palma Time Lapse Video from Christoph Malin on Vimeo.

Now on National Geographic/ thanks to NG, awesome!

Imagine the world's largest volcanic erosion crater. Then imagine an island with an incredible area to height ratio: low area of 708 square km and the 12 km wide "caldera de taburiente" with it's 2445 m high roque de los muchachos peak... or the near 2000 m high Deseada volcanic twin peaks on the ruta de los Volcanes... Combine that with beautiful starry skies - and you have La Palma (see

My new TimeLapse project "The Island" is dedicated to this beautiful and lovely Island of the Canaries... Note: this is my second TL project, the first one - "Black Hole Sun" - was reviewed nicely on NAT GEO daily news.

"The Island" was filmed by me alone during the first week of August 2011, less than 10 hrs sleep the whole week!

Making-of images:

About the project:

I have been to Palma many times for mountain biking and hiking in the past and have written some travel articles about the Island which hosts a spanish national park ("Caldera de Taburiente") and a UNESCO biosphere reservate ("Los Tildos Rainforest". It is a little paradise by itself - for nature lovers and hikers with a faible for dramatic landscapes and climatic zones, that change on every meter of ascent / descent.

I always tried to cover the beauty of it's incredible landscape and endemic nature at day and night with still images - a TimeLapse showing it's celestial beauties matched to the dramatic volcanic landscapes was always a dream, that was slowly getting real, after I had finished "Black Hole Sun" and gained knowledge about landscape TimeLapse photography. As a member of the Instructor team of the Austrian Summit Club and Landscape photographer I love to be outdoors in the Mountains anyway at all times. So this project was always welcome!

La Palma has not only beautiful day landscapes to offer, it is one of the top six places on Earth to view the Night skies and hosts the worlds largest single aperture optical telescope (GTC - grantecan, see

Now during a week of new moon I was finally able to cover most of the scenery I had in mind in TimeLapse technique.

About the production: Astrolandscape TimeLapse is equipment intensive. It was one of the most intense experiences ever in regards of

  • carrying around the equipment on the volcanic mountains...
  • 4 Nikon DLSR (1 x D3s, D700, 2 x D7000)
  • 6 Nikon Pro Lenses (10/2.8 DX, 2 x 14-24/2.8, 24-70/2.8, 50/1.4, 24/1.4)
  • up to 5 Manfrotto/Tripods
  • Stage Zero Dynamic Perception Dolly
  • Orion Astronomic Head
  • AstroTrac TT320X-AG
  • Rechargeable Batteries, Batteries, Batteries
  • VauDe Mountaineering Equipment
  • Water / Food / iPad with astronomical software*
  • RedBull, RedBull, RedBull
  • MacBook Pro**

... but it also has been some of the best times enjoying one of the most dramatic landscapes imaginable in all it's beauty, including unforgettable sunsets, moonsets and sunrises, countless meteor streak sightings (I stopped counting after about 50...) and an eternal Milky Way amazingly glowing from the starry night sky.

Other than in Central Europe (see my other project "Black Hole Sun") on La Palma's Mountains and in the south, one can truly differentiate the Milky Ways dark dust regions just by eye - no camera needed. It is an incredible view, I tried to capture the best I can. Under these starry skies, and this incredible, eternal glowing band of our galaxy, one can feel the time - directly and pure. It is furthemore a totally silent landscape, dark and mysterious. Only noises from time to time are from the wind touching the big century old pine trees making for a very own orchestral sound.

I am for sure not the most religious person, but if you experience this remarkable landscape and the glowing skies above, there is to say that God had a good day when he created La Palma.

But Nature on La Palma can be harsh and dangerous too: it showed it's strengths more than once with strong to severe winds (up to appr. 70 km/h) on the volcanic ridges. While I of course know that staying on the Cumbre Vieja or the Roque at stormy winds is not the best idea - if there is clear sky and you have to take footage on your planned timed/locations, you have to cope with it, no workaround.

This made it partly quite tough to film - add to that the nights alone in darkness with boosting winds. I could only use the tent twice and on the other days had to seek shelter behind rocks. And La Palma's mountains are really DARK, with only the starry sky above. While I am used to stay out alone on the mountains to capture night skies for Astronomic landscape images, winds - especially as strong as these that hit La Palma's volcanic ridges - make filming all night physically demanding and tiring. The cameras and lenses (as well as me) got their share of dust and sand, being low on the ground. Only in the morning the winds would get weaker - finally, this was always a relief.

BTW: What would a trip like this be without the obligatory equipment and man failures ;): unexpected battery drains, astronomic Merlin/Orion head failures due to faulty interface cable, cameras getting thrown over by wind boosts etc. Photographer stumbling around in the dark, hitting rocks, nearly falling over roots (I avoided using my headlight due to cameras taking footage), scratching hands, knees on ultra sharp volcanic rocks, always trying not to fall into a crater by stumbling over tent ropes or getting hit by a wind boost etc. in the meantime some camera or dolly batteries would fail, footage needed to be repeated, settings adjusted. ah, you just wanted to sleep a bit? forget it, sleeping delayed to a indefinite "later", and that repeated for the whole week!

Sometimes one then reaches a moment of exhaustion and frustration about equipment (Nikon Cameras and it's every changing button designs from Model to Model are appareantly not designed for use in darkness, and the Orion Head is a challenge by itself) where you just would like to throw the whole stuff into a dark crater, have it burned by fresh lava (having fun watching), forget about everything and go sleep for a week. Not an option - so back to work!

Dust on the DSLR chips from sandstorms on the volcanoes was also a big problem present all week - I could never go over f5.6, otherwise dust particles visible on the chips would ruin the shots (as it did, when I once decided to try program mode and ISO auto, and the D7000 ramped up f-stop on sunrise instead of lowering ISO).

External power supplies are a story on it's own - DSLR chips burn amps on long exposures, and more than 6000 images in a night only do the rest.

If you know about reliable, lightweight external power supplies for Nikon Cameras and 12V gear in general, please contact me.

About taking footage on the Caldera and Roque de los Muchachos: be aware that for taking footage on south/west areas of Roque de los Muchachos you need a permit by the IAC (〈=en), which is controlled by staff at any times. This is on the one hand for not disturbing observatory work (with lights), on the other hand for safety issues. In any case it is advised to never point your dimmed red light to the sky, in direction of the telescopes etc. use a headlamp with a dedicated red light like this one for other parts of the roque/caldera stay safe and behave accordingly to national park staff and rules which can be informed about at the caldera de taburiente visitor center near el paso.

Finally a word about the Night skies: Clear and dark night skies as the ones on La Palma are getting rare in this highly light polluted century... To help preserving a clear night sky to future generations (and save on energy waste) please therefore support and join the UNESCO year of the astronomy 2009 special program as well as and

I am an instructor and advisor of the Austrian Summit Club ( Please support your local Summit Club section.

Finally, I am truly rewarded by cutting the first output that formed into a nice little teaser, and hope you like it too! More to come..., will be there for a second session a.s.a.p - I can never get enough of this beautiful Island.

The great song for this video comes from Epic Soul Factory, "Titan", found on Soundcloud:

Now enjoy,
Christoph Malin

*i use the following astronomic apps on iPad: "RedShift", "StarWalk" and "pUniverse HD" as well as "Stellarium" on my MacBookPro

**used to pre render lots of the footage in between and checking first outputs at each production stage as well as serving as a image tank!/patscherkofel

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  • drumbo


    • venancio

      not too great… it should be “an incredible” not “a incredible”… grammar is still important… this error reduces the presentation as novice…

      • Ren Kockwell

        Really? What a shitty response.

      • Recent Convert

        As grammar-Nazi, you should know that “novice” is a noun, not an adjective. Besides, you are applying you peculiar brand of pettiness to the writings of a native German-speaker, who is doing you the favour of writing his narrative in a foreign language. You have shown that you do not master English either; maybe you should stick to your native tongue.

        • venancio

          “applying you peculiar brand ” should be “applying youR peculiar brand “… novice is used to designate non-pro… if you want to show your output to the world in a professional manner and you pick a particular language as a vehicle or a tool to communicate, grammar matters, that’s why editors exist… if this were a commercial, the art would be praised but the error would make it a flop…danke schön…

          • Shamra

            if you get so easily annoyed at lil typo’s like that i suggest you calm down… think of your blood pressure! you might not make it past lunch darling!

            the video is awesomesauce and you’re mocking it for his typing skills? i think somebody is jealous…?

          • Fishnose

            What a total jackass you are, venancio. It’s actually embarrassing to see such a cheap response to this photographer’s account of a truly remarkable photo shoot, along with the magnificent photogreaps and sequences shown. Don’t you feel shame at being such an a-hole? Probably not, you dont have the ability, do you.

            But that aside: THANK YOU to Christoph for showing this to us! Amazing stuff, Sir.

            • venancio

              i’m sorry, i apologize i placed him in the same category as thom hogan and david d. busch who know a lot about photography and who put a lot to their work as much as they put to proof reading and editing… they’d be commercially dead if they are caught with “a incredible island” phrase… if he is as sensitive as you on criticism, then he will remain a very good artist and photographer but not one who authors commercial presentations and advertising campaigns that demand the ability to “fluently verbalize” what is presented… yes, i could use his output as photo/video input for commercial segments but wouldn’t it be great if i could hire him because his great output is matched by his convincing and proper write-up? just keep an open mind, there are those who love photography and there are those who want to go a step higher and be in business of being more than a photographer… i don’t understand what you mean by “photogreaps”…

            • venancio,

              take it a bit more easy. I am a editor / journalist in german speaking bicycle/outdoor magazines since 20 years, and I have written for a couple of US magazines too. of course there is always a text editor proof reading then, which makes things much easier.
              well, after all, english is just not my native language, that’s the way it is. the texting on “the island” was done after a week of nearly no sleep, proably not the best, of course. but pictures say more than 1000 words, anyway 😉
              have a nice day

          • Troll

            Go kiss your boyfriend goodnight and stop bothering people who have a life.

            • Yer Mom

              What kind of grammar nazi writes with ellipises? Pathetic.

      • Canon User

        “…grammar is still important…this error reduces the presentation as novice…”
        Venancio, check your breeding, you are fun of hunting!!!

    • Vandyu

      Wonderfully inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing your exceptional work.

  • Nice!

  • lnoseda

    i have a question. How can there be the milky way with the sun at the same moment?? Was it visible at naked eye or only the camera could get it? Thanks for answering

    • MOON

      • IanZ28

        Just had a Forest Gump moment there

  • Hi Inoseda,

    it is the moon, not the sun. Moonsets were around 11:00 p.m getting later which the weeks progress until about 02:00 a.m. there is a great free software to simulate that for any given place on earth called “stellarium”. on iPad/iPhone I recommend RedShift (shows day/night transition best), StarWalk and pUniverse.

    • lnoseda

      Thank you for the answer, but I really don’t get if you can see the milky way with naked eye, because I haven’t ever seen it, neither in the mountains, and I’m from Switzerland.
      btw, the video is beautiful

      • If you have a very dark sky (not much light pollution) and you let your eyes get used to the dark for a couple of hours . . and there is a new moon (no moon) . . . you can see something of the MilkyWay with the naked eye.

      • Lorenz K.

        Hi lnoseda,

        you can see the Milky Way in Switzerland very well with the naked eye, but you have to find the right place and time. Last time I saw it was on a tour around the Piz Ela with almost no moon. You could see it after ~5 minutes of adaption to the darkness.

        BTW, the Caldera de Taburiente on La Palma is not a place for tourists at night. To my knowledge, you need a permit to access/stay in the area after nightfall. Of course it is easy to “sneak in”, but you are risking to disturb very sensitive astronomical observations even with weak flashlights.


        • If you would like to take pictures in the night on the side of the telescopes you need a permit, right. I had one, and was told exactly where to stay. There is always a car of the IAC coming up telling people. OTH if you move to the east ridges there is usually not so much of a problem (use dim red light in any case). the park rangers are more concerned about safety and the winds in this part. it was interesting to meet a couple of hikers though trough the sessions which do the caldera ridge walk in two days with stay over night in tents. lots of spanish hikers. that is a wonderful but very strenous walk!

          • Lorenz, thanks again. I added that info to the description of the video. It is important, you are right!

  • Ren Kockwell

    Very cool and a thrilling description of some frightening terrain. What great work.

  • yo

    14-24 FTMFW. nothing comes close. nothing.

    • Amen……..NOTHING comes close, NOTHING! Except of course the Tokina 11-16mm 2.8 if you shoot DX. It’s actually really close in DX standards.

    • GeofFx

      What about the Tokina 16-28. That is supposed to come close too (for half the price) isn’t it?

  • Jeremy

    So just how many stops of graduated ND do you need to get both the sun and the Milky Way galaxy in the same shot?

    • Jeremy

      Oops, should have refreshed first. Thanks Christoph.

  • Manish

    Awesome timelapse. The music does it good justice as well!

  • Fx FAN

    Would love to be able to see this video without as much compression artifacts.

    Is is posted in higher quality somewhere ?

    • I made it downloadable now on vimeo, which should satisfy your need 😉 however, it is all raw images now, and no post processing. so the longer version coming later has more better balanced day night transitions.

  • Cj

    Great work, and the music is a perfect complement to the imagery.

  • That Stage Zero Dolly is bloddy expensive…..are there any alternatives? Great work BTW! Amazing captures.

    • I looked around before, and right now it seems to be one of the “cheapest”. but there is a german one which also seems to be nice ( However, just check out and There are many dolly builders around that forums, so you get a good idea of what is on the market.

  • SAE

    Stunning! Great job on those captures.

  • Ball_Lightning

    Wieder ein super Video, danke Landsmann 😉

    • immer gerne! jetzt brauch ich erstmal ne woche mehr schlaf 😉

  • Landscape Photo

    Fantastic !

    Yet, I don’t understand the need for a truckload of equipment in the wilderness. One body, one tripod & one or two essential lenses would suffice; you’d still get successful results imo.

    • of course that is usually the way I’d love to work too… look at “Black Hole Sun”, mostly done with D700. Much later I added a D7000 (mostly because of deeper astro shots because of the crop)… But if you have only a week and want to get more angles you are happy to try out more.

  • I love the imagery. I hate the music. A little too action packed for time lapse.

    • music is always difficult. this time I’d tried to go more “dramatic”, but the longer version of the vid following will be more relaxed. thanks for the feedback anyway!

  • The timelapse is great but the thing i don’t like about time lapses it’s that they show the same thing over and over. There are very few really good and original timelapses, all the rest is a case of deja-vu.

  • broxibear

    Someone on the Froknows forum is claiming that he’s put down a deposit for a D4 here along with a few others ?
    As I’ve said before there are always unofficial waiting lists, you just have to find them…and then get on them.

  • That is awesome Christoph. Totally awesome and a lot of work. btw the milky way is definately visible, just so long as you aren’t encompassed by polution when you try to view it. Have a holiday and come to the ‘outback’ and you’ll see it clearly.

  • NG42

    There are plenty of beautiful shots. Well done. I think I would have preferred if the music was a bit more low key though. To me at least, it felt like at time the music was trying to overpower the gorgeous images. The images should be front and center, not the music. I’m sure there are others who loved the music though. Just my opinion. Anyway, well done!

  • Acutia

    I love your work, Christoph. Thanks for sharing!

  • Canon User

    my respect Christoph, excellent work!

  • Magnus

    Really nice.
    Not too keen on the foreground tent – but the rest is breathtaking beautiful.

    Last summer I climbed mount Fuji in the dark (off season, without food or proper gear… – not recommended) and the views were similar (although obviously not the same amount of visible stars).

    Instead of the tent, a silhouette of a person sitting on the edge of a rock would have been cool – although carrying a fully clothed mannequin around would add to the trouble 😉

  • thanks to all for the comments! will start on a longer, more laidback music version soon. and of course there is another session waiting.

  • photonut


    Been to there myself several times, last time in May. The night sky is absolutely stunning!

    What’s “missing” in your great video is the fall of clouds (like a waterfall) over the Cumbre Nueva captured e.q. from Pico Birigoyo or from the Park Visitor Center where you get the impression the clouds are falling right on top of you…

    • I know. I have a bit of that on the Ermita de Virgen del Pino night footage and some other filmed HD with the 7000. Pico Birigoyo was on the list, but I didn’t make it, I love that peak. Next time I spend two weeks there 😉

  • Jabs

    It is always inspiring to me to see a photographer or artist going to such depths or lengths to get what they envision or seek finally.

    Great details, technique and then we get a real glimpse of the photographer’s ideas and how they executed and then finished something.

    Congratulations to both the Administrator and the artist/photographer Christoph Malin.

    Thank you very much for educating us here plus sharing your vision as that indeed is very difficult to do and even more difficult to express in another language that is not your native language or tongue.

    Genius is genius and does not need any translation – just look at the concept, the dedication, the execution and then the results = awesome!

    Please share more with us here Christoph as you inspire me and seems like many others here.

    I wonder how the newer upcoming Nikon gear would make your job easier or even allow you to be even more creative?

    • I wonder about that new Nikons too, they are like Apple Inc. and make a big mystery about it. But that’s OK. However, if you count 1+1 together, we’d soon be seeing either a new D800 or a new D4 or both. One thing though that would make my job easier from the start would be (optional) backlighted buttons for working in the dark. of course I am used to my D700 and know mostly all knobs in the dark, but that layout changes with D7000, D3s etc. I wonder why they ever change those button layouts. It does not make sense. also the ring where you switch between “S” (single frame) and “timer” or shutter pre release, could be indexed. I often switch between those modes while working on a scene. other than that I was stoked how good the D700 still is on night images, and what a real light “monster” the D3s. this machine has endless reserves. if it just wouldn’t be that expensive. I will go for a used one when the new ones arrive.

      • Jabs

        @Christoph Malin.
        Thanks for you replies here and your hospitality to us.

        Yeah – backlit (or controls that you can see or recognize in a dimly lit place) controls are all needed. Like what I hear they do on the MacPro laptops. I remember reading about the difficulty in using laptops or computers in general at Stage Shows, the Opera or in most live performances where they use dim lights in say an orchestra pit and then now, the performers need to be able to see their scores or even the orchestra conductor – lol.

        Backlit keyboards or even small lights like they had on some IBM laptops, would shine a little light above the LCD frame (like where they now put the Web-cam) on your keyboard and thus light the keyboard in a very dark environment. I run into that problem, so I keep an old IBM ThinkPad just for that purpose – to see the keyboard in the dark, so I know what to PRESS as it has a little almost yellow light that lights the keyboard for you to see.

        Nikon has a tough job of bringing something even better than the D3s for sure and I am looking forward to what they release and then new things to go learn now. Olympics coming up in London, next year, so I expect all types of new stuff.

        I like your ideas and how you approached this plus you got the results you wanted.

        Yes, adding 2+2 (or two and two) shows something great coming up – so time to pay for more stuff and go shoot some more and try new ideas.

        • yes, the Thinkpads are tanks, great machines, very well thought out, sturdy and realiable. If I wouldn’t have changed to Macs a couple of years ago (their illuminated keyboards on the MBPro’s are in fact of great use) I’d use Thinkpads. But in the field an iPhone / Blackberry / Android display makes for some nice illumination too ;). Just don’t use it too often as it will drain the phones battery fast (at least the Apple’s). I was once invited to the Idita Winter Bike Race in Alaska (unfortunately didn’t make it, or was that luck?) and a couple that participated in some year just survived getting back from some accident by using their digital camera display as a lamp. Probably they would not have survived with an iPhone ;).

          • Jabs

            @Christoph Malin.

            Thanks for your reply.
            You know what I notice – a lot of successful or even adventurous people know a lot about many different things and thus it seems like widening your knowledge base makes it easier to come up with different concepts and then do them.
            Yeah, ThinkPads are well loved and so are MacPros. I would love a ‘W’ series ThinkPad, as they have one with dual screens (one screen slides behind the main one) and also a built-in Wacom tablet to do graphics with and some real Workstation graphics, but expensive.

            Look here –



            NOW, that’s a laptop, but really expensive!

            LED flashlights are better than smartphone screen lights to me, but if you don’t have a flashlight near, then the light or glow of a smartphone comes in handy.

            I have never been to Alaska but would love to, but I hate the cold weather, so who knows.

            Have a good one!

  • Oliver

    Someone please tell me this songs name and artist

    • I’d love to, but a friend which produces videos sent it to me said, “hey use this great song, it is from, send you the facts later…”.the song file is named “titan”, but the guy is on holiday now on some other part of the globe and I can’t reach him. grmbl.

  • Brock Kentwell

    There are lots of people doing time lapses these days, but there are only a few that are truly great like this one. Nice work!

  • NG42

    It is fantastic footage! Stunning!

  • Dave Kohn

    Hi Christoph,

    I have to say this is amazing and aspiring work.

    Wanted to ask what’s your setup energy wise?
    Is their enough power from battery packs or do you use an extended battery system somehow? or connect to an engine maybe? Does the cold affect things?

    I appreciate your answer.
    Many thanks for sharing your beautiful work!!

    • hi Dave, energy setup is just a couple loaded original LiIon batteries for the D700, D7000, D3s and much “hope” ;). with the D700 & D7000 it is easier to work: just set “empty mb-d10/11 battery first” in custom options, and you just keep an eye on that battery, change it from time to time and never let the battery in the body run low.

      for the D3s there is no such option, it was running around 4-5 hours then the LiIon battery was drained. for this camera type I will look for a future DIY external 7,2V solution. back home when I have some car access and take footage in urban areas etc I use a separate car battery with a 300W / AC converter and just plug in the AC adapters of all equipment. see here: and here not the most elegant or efficient solution but the cheapest. and a car battery (e.g. Varta) with a good charger (you should have for your car anyway) lasts a long time.
      in winter or on low temps running times reduce dramatically with the standard LiIon Batteries. Again the car battery solution has proved very well (keep the battery away from wind etc). but it is heavy and not very portable. for all other 12V things I use rechargeable Ansmann cells in battery holders of 8. Ansmann (Germany) has excellent chargers (also for cars). I am also currently into testing some VaudDe solar chargers, but am not very far on this, just started…

  • Dave Kohn

    Thanks so much for all the info.
    Power feels like the one field where the innovation and solutions are so slow..

  • What an absolutely brilliant time lapse video!!!

  • Cuthbert

    How about a little editorial work here? The grammar and typos are a bit overwhelming.

  • Kingyo

    Great follow-up video to Black Hole Sun! (which inspired me to try some TL Astrophotography myself!) camping trip coincided with really bad weather 🙁 so I’ll have to wait for another time.

  • plug

    Stunning! How dare you make me feel so inadequate?! Admin, more of this quality, please. we need reminding that artistic genius and sheer creativity are so much more important than the next technological advance: bring on the D800 but it is the user who really matters.

  • WOW! Stunning and absolutely amazing! Great work!

  • Hi all,

    thanks a lot for all comments and feedback. Worked on the typo and the grammar 🙂 While not perfect I’ll ask Peter if he can refresh the text.

    Let’s hope that the rest of this “summer” brings better weather for home based TLs.

    In the meantime Germans have renamed the seasons into: Spring, Scheisse, Autumn, Winter.

    Couldn’t resist on this one. Weather is really bad these days. Evening thunderstorms all the tome. You move on a Mountain to film, and have to escape pretty much often. While I like to capture how it evolves, I don’t want to get struck by lightning (or a cooked D700). Would be interesting to see what service says if they get a melted D700.


    • “time” of course. who else is unhappy with his iPad/iPhone spell check?

    • Sure! Thanks.

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