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Chasing Starlight – The Adventure of Chasing Stars | Jack Fusco

By Jay Cassario on December 15th 2014


When tasked with a timelapse project far from home, star photographer Jack Fusco knew there was a lot of risk involved…and luck. An all day flight with all his gear, lots of coffee, and his weather app one simple click away, he traveled from South Jersey to Alberta, Canada. Praying and hoping for clear skies, Jack arrived to an overcast and starless sky. What ensued over the next 7 nights was stressful, tiring, frustrating, and absolutely beautiful as Jack chased the stars and put together his most impressive timelapse yet.

[REWIND:The Ultimate Guide To Motion Timelapse Of The Milky Way]Jack-Fusco---Peyto-Aurora

With a week to complete the project, room for error was extremely marginal. Timing the breaks in cloud cover was extremely difficult, yet crucial for a successful trip. Running on minimal sleep, Jack spent his days traveling around the Canadian Rockies scoping out shooting locations, and his nights keeping a close watch on the weather and timing the breaks in cloud cover. It was an adventure to say the least. An adventure and experience that Jack says he hopes inspires people to get out and chase the stars.



Below are the field notes from Jack’s trip, something he does on all his trips, but also something I personally thought was interesting and worth sharing.

Night 1 – 10/21 – The forecast was originally calling for clear skies in Banff. This changed to cloudy skies in Banff, but conditions appeared to be improving in between Banff and Jasper for a short window just after sunset. I drove straight from the airport, dropped off my bags, skipped dinner and started driving to Bow Lake. An hour into my drive, I lost service, but I knew the forecast was slowly looking worse and worse. By the time I reached Bow Lake, the sun had just set and clouds were moving in. Although there were patches of clear skies over the mountains, it started to rain / snow. I scrapped the first spot I scouted and found somewhere to park my rental suv so I could use the tailgate to keep the camera drive and shot for as long as I could.

Night 2 – 10/22 – Completely Overcast / Snow overnight in between Banff and Jasper. I venture out to double check the conditions and ultimately end up taking short naps through the night, waking up every hour or so to see if the conditions look like they might improve.

Night 3 – 10/23 – Arrive in Jasper – Clear skies! Skip Dark Sky Festival and head out immediately. All 3 timelapses sequences from Jasper were shot on this night.

Night 4 – 10/24 – Snow in Jasper – Again, out scouting for a while and then taking short naps throughout the night waking up to check on the weather.

Night 5 – 10/25 – Lake Louise – A forecast originally calling for clear skies changes to cloudy all night. One sequence at Lake Louise was shot before the clouds moved in.

Night 6 – 10/26 – Mostly clear skies in the forecast. A plan is laid out to hit as many locations as possible while the conditions are cooperating. Started shooting at Peyto Lake at the tail end of blue hour and the Northern lights make an unexpected appearance. The old plan is thrown out the window and a new one that find locations facing North to capture the Aurora is hatched. It will take a little bit longer in between locations, but capturing the Northern Lights is worth the trade in time.

Night 7 – 10/27 – The forecast is calling for mostly cloudy skies, but we drive from Lake Louise, to Banff, to Canmore and then back to Banff. A few stars are visible near Vermillion before the clouds totally cover the sky. The rest of the night is spent taking short naps and checking the weather which never changes for the better.

The images that you see here are stills from the actual timelapse. Chasing Starlight was shot using a Nikon D800E & a Nikon D810 equipped with Nikon 14-24 f/2.8 lenses. Enjoy the video and head over to Jack’s page to see more of his inspiring work.

– Jay

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Jay Cassario is a fulltime photographer from South Jersey, owner of the multi-photographer wedding and portrait studio Twisted Oaks, and Brand Ambassador for Leica Camera USA.

WEBSITE: Jay Cassario
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Q&A Discussions

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  1. Stephen Glass


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  2. Jesper Ek


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  3. Tosh Cuellar

    Fantastic Images and article. one day i’ll try my hand at astrophotography, very cool stuff.

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  4. J. Cassario

    Same here Doug!

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  5. Doug Elliot

    Wow. I spent some summers in Maine and Montana and these shots bring me right back.

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  6. J. Cassario

    Thanks for checking the article out Aaron. I agree, Jack does beautiful work.

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  7. Aaron Cheney

    Such beautiful imagery!!

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  8. J. Cassario

    Greg, I was supposed to be on this trip and couldn’t make it, seeing the shots that Jack got once he got home almost brought tears to my eyes. I have already talked him into going back soon, so hopefully I can witness this first hand. Thanks for reading!

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    • Greg Silver

      I hear you! I’m only a few hours from Banff so will be putting this on the list of photo ops coming up this spring.

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  9. Greg Silver

    The combination of the Canadian Rockies and the stars above make for some spectacular imagery. Great shots – thanks for sharing!

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