Ghosts Of Death Valley, A Beautiful Timelapse From The Desert

Featured Projects August 26th 2014 3:11 PM 22 Comments

The team over at Tree Speed Photo spent the better part of a week in Death Valley working through the night and sleeping through the day on their latest project: Ghosts of Death Valley.


Part of that team, Django Greenblatt-Seay, explains some of the challenges of working on a project like this in such a short time. “I think the process for making trips like these, focused exclusively on getting as many good shots as possible is pretty interesting.” Greenblatt-Seay continues,“You have to find a way to flip your sleep schedule – 5-Hour Energy/Red Bull – and you have to be very organized with data management and battery cycling.”


The resulting video is beautiful, something I think is well worth the week or so of sleep deprivation and technology headaches. Take a look at the project below and marvel at the beauty of such a barren place…

If you are interested, you can learn more about the project, check out stills from the trip, and more over on the Tree Speed Photo website.


What are your thoughts on this timelapse? Leave a comment below!

CREDITS: All video & photographs shared by Tree Speed Photo are copyrighted and have been used with permission on SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.



Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. You can check out some of his work on his Website or over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.


  1. Ralph Hightower

    Stunning! I had hoped that their blog had mentioned what that tripod head was that panned and tilted under remote control.

    • Django Greenblatt-Seay

      Hey Ralph – The pan/tilt head we used was a Celestron Skywatcher. You can get it on Amazon, here.

  2. Austin Swenson

    I wish there was someplace nearby where I could go to get good images like this… I live too close into town and and would take hours upon hours to get to a place where none of the ambient light gets in the way of those awesome stars.

    • Django Greenblatt-Seay

      Hey Austin – Where do you live? JJ and I live in Omaha, so we normally block out a week so we can travel someplace dark and allow a few nights to shoot.

  3. Rafael Steffen

    This is the perfect Project that makes us photograhers more creative. Turn the ordinary into extraordinary!

  4. Brandon Dewey

    Beautiful!!! Very Well done!!

  5. Matthew Saville

    It’s nice to see that people still go inside the bank. Stupid fences. I remember when there wasn’t any barbed wire at all around that place, in 2005 lol… Awesome mega-slide sequence at the beginning, did you guys just move the tripod manually?

    • Django Greenblatt-Seay

      Hey thanks a lot, Matthew. The opening shot was with a Dynamic Perception Stage Zero dolly system. The track is 6 feet long, so we just had it nearly vertical for that first shot outside the caboose. I’m pretty sure we got that shot during the last night.

    • Matthew Saville

      I’m really impressed that that 1st slide is from “just” 6 feet worth of sliding! That’s awesome. However I meant the ~3rd scene, the back-and-forth around the bank. The road isn’t very wide so I’m wondering how you pulled that one off!

    • Django Greenblatt-Seay

      Ah, that one. That shot was pretty challenging. It’s a hyperlapse. Camera locked down on a tripod. We probably had a 20-25 second exposure, and after the shot and then moved the camera about 6 inches to the right with a gradual arc (we eyeballed this). The challenge is that it’s then too dark to re-establish the focus point on the same part of that building so the shots stay steady. So between every shot, JJ had to shine a flashlight on the building so I could see what I was doing and frame the shot properly. It took about an hour of this. Super tedious, but after stabilizing in post, the result is pretty cool. We tried one night sky hyperlapse without shining the flashlight between shots to guide composition and the result was terrible.

    • Matthew Saville

      Sounds like fun! I’m working on tutorials and workshop type stuff along these lines, so that’s why I asked. 6″ is a pretty short distance to move, but it makes sense!


  6. Barry Cunningham

    “BEAUFITUL” !?


    awesome work put into it to produce a really cool video ….love the fact that its in 4K

  8. Gregory Davidson

    Beautiful and inspiring.

  9. Jesse Rinka

    I’ve always been fascinated by time-lapses such as these but I mean, wow, really awesome stuff. You can tell so much planning and effort goes into these projects. Well Done.

  10. Wendell Fernandes

    I still want to try to get this type of shot one day!

  11. Brian Drumm

    Beautiful! I just did my first milky way capture a few months ago. Now knowing what it takes to get images like that makes for better understanding of what it takes to get images/series like this.

  12. Tyler Friesen

    Very well done. I like the song choice.

  13. Michael Moe

    This is one of my favourite timelapse movies! i love it!

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