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.
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.