This September, I threw all my camera gear into the car and drove South to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time: shoot time-lapse footage of the radio telescopes at the Very Large Array in Socorro, New Mexico.
Unfortunately, a tire on my car started failing just as I was pulling into Socorro, and I had to turn around and drive back to Albuquerque to get it replaced, which cost me a full night and day of shooting.
Undeterred, I sped back towards Socorro the minute they lowered the car off the lift, and was able to set up the cameras in time to shoot a beautiful New Mexico sunset, and about 4 hours worth of astro time-lapse that night.
I went back early the next day and got set up again, managing to shoot for about an hour or so before a nasty-looking storm-front started rolling in, which was a pretty huge bummer. The clouds looked amazing as they were gathering over the array, but unfortunately, they didn’t move out again, so most of the day I was shooting in the rain, under really flat light, with the lenses pointed at a solid, pewter slab of overcast sky. Not ideal conditions for any kind of photography, and definitely not time-lapse, which depends so heavily on shifting skies to remain visually compelling. Luckily, the scientist/operator made some fairly dramatic moves with the dishes, so there’s hopefully still enough there to hold a viewer’s interest.
I think the footage I managed to get will yield some cool results if I push it far enough in After Effects, but I’d really like to give it another shot this summer. It really was a fascinating place to film, and I’ll definitely be going back soon.
In the meantime– keep an eye on this site. I should be posting the results within the next month or two.