April 21, 2015
“The Untouched – A Time-lapse Film” is a project I have been working on, for the past 2 years across different National and State parks in the country. The primary vision of the video is to showcase the untouched beauty of few of our National/State Parks across USA and to create awareness about conserving natural resources of our planet, including preserving our skies.
Being a true nature enthusiast at heart, and a travel photographer by passion, I used to chase good light whenever I got an opportunity. But after getting inspired from some of the world’s renowned time-lapse film makers, I wished to spend more time in nature and capture the essence of light, landscape and time.
This film is about how the weather conditions and light changes with time over the landscape.
The time-lapse journey started with my travel to Crater Lake in Oregon when I first captured the beauty of night sky over the amazing landscape of the volcanic lake. This time-lapse sequence ignited my passion to move forward to learn and fine-tune my skills on how to capture the change of light more efficiently and professionally. As a beginner, I had my pitfalls and mistakes which were pretty costly as I lost the valuable time and the stunning light over exotic landscapes which I could never get back. The more I failed, the more I wanted to get better.
As I kept learning the art, I started traveling to locations to capture specific scenes based on calculating weather conditions and astronomical alignments to the landscape. I wished to capture unique alignments, cloud movements and reflections for which there was constant planning that went on my mind keeping track of wind conditions, cloud cover, storm movement, and seasonal alignment changes of astronomical elements such as the sun, moon, and Milky Way galaxy.
The journey progressed and I started to feel and see the effect of climate change while trying to capture these beautiful locations. Places in the west coast of USA like Mono Lake, Yosemite, Crater Lake, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Rainier are facing significant to severe drought conditions. I noticed the change in water level in rivers, water falls, and lakes as I returned to the same locations to capture different seasons and light conditions over the past 2 years. The weather pattern changes were evident as well with the reduction of moisture and coastal fog cycle in the Pacific which were quite important for an ecological balance for coastal vegetation like redwoods that exists.
Unusual, severe weather outbreaks are frequent due to the climatic changes happening throughout the country. Though it provided some amazing light for me to capture, it clearly highlighted that climate change is occurring. Through filming, I found much stronger objective to achieve for “The Untouched.”
With the changes I witness I became motivated to travel across different parts of the country to showcase the beauty of the nature which we are blessed with and create awareness to conserve them for the best of our future.
A major issue I faced was to capture the landscape in the night. I traveled long distances to see the stars shine bright. However, light pollution over powered much of the sky—even in small cities. Light pollution may seem like an imminent problem, but a world with excess light causes affects us all. Scientific evidence suggests that artificial light at night has negative and deadly effects on many creatures including amphibians, birds, mammals, insects and plants which depend on natural day light and star light for their activities. Also, excessive usage of light in the night just increases the usage of energy thereby increases the demand/shortage for power. As per International Dark Sky Association (IDA ), ae do need some light at night, but much of it is wasted by lights that are overly bright or left on when not needed. Unshielded fixtures waste the most energy. Their lights shine upward instead of down on the ground where it’s needed. In fact, IDA estimates that up to 50 percent of all outdoor light is wasted. That adds up to $3.3 billion and the release of 21 million tons of CO2 per year! To offset all that CO2, we’d have to plan 875 million trees annually. Hence, I ventured out to capture the beauty of the night sky to spread the word to the masses to show what the city dwellers like myself have been missing in our day to day life.
My overall vision for the video was to simply showcase the beauty of nature. We need to have the urge to step up as an individual, as a community, as a country, and as a world, to conserve and combat the changes for the best of our future.
I would like to thank Earth Day Network and International Dark Sky Association for their interest on my vision and my video. Thanks to all my supporters as well for their continued interest on my work. I would like to extend my thanks to all my friends who I went out with for shooting these time lapses and with whom I shared an amazing time, gained so much experience and knowledge about our planet. And last but not least, thanks to my wife, my parents and my in-laws who have been a source of great motivation for me to put together this video. Hope you will enjoy this short film and be ready for more from me!
Insights on the video: 30 locations, 56 sequences, roughly 15,000 photographs in total.
About the artist: Shreenivasan Manievannan (Shreeniclix Photography)
Warren Stephen (Music Composer) ([email protected], http://www.nimbitmusic.com/warrenstephens)