Dakota Skies Time-Lapse Video

You *must* click to make this full screen.

In this jaw-dropping time-lapse video, photographer Randy Halverson has captured the crisp, starry skies over South Dakota in February.

According to Halverson, most nights he was out shooting were sub-zero, sometimes with a wind chill of -25 degrees F (-31.6 degrees C).

Shooting the scenes involved a dolly, two Canon cameras, two lenses, and a cooler packed with hand-warmers to help keep the equipment working in the deep freeze. [Update: In case you are wondering, the dolly Randy used is called Stage Zero from dynamicperception.com.]

—Picture copyright Randy Halverson

Each 10- to 12-second-long segment in the video includes about 300 frames, most shot with 20-second exposure times, adding up to several hours of filming—not counting setup and travel time.

But the chilly effort was certainly worth it!

Opening with a glorious moon halo, the video shows a number of familiar star patterns in sharp detail, such as the constellation Orion—complete with “sword”—and the “seven sisters” Pleiades star cluster.

The beauty of the long exposures is that the snowy landscapes appear almost as bright as they would in daytime, with the star-spangled sky overhead.

What’s more, despite the seeming remoteness of the vistas, the video captures several signs of life. What appear to be planes streak through the stars, blurred cars zip along the country roads, and if you look close at the abandoned house around the 1:30 mark, dark blobs that may be raccoons slink in and out of the attic!

—Picture copyright Randy Halverson

Thanks, Randy, for granting permission for us to share this incredible work.

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