Little did anyone expect that only months after Sheldon Neill and Colin Delehanty first met on Vimeo.com that our perception of Yosemite National Park would never be the same again. That’s because the pair behind the stunning Yosemite HD time-lapse video, debuted their second feature, Yosemite HD II At the first Range of Light Film Festival on February 27, 2014 in Yosemite Valley.
Early in 2012, the filmmakers made an impression with their first video on Vimeo.com, and it’s garnered more than 4 million views, and is still viewed over 1,000 times per day. Now they’re determined to inspire millions more with more advanced equipment, techniques and far-out locations.
Yosemite HD II from Project Yosemite on Vimeo.
Project Yosemite started as a personal foray into the world of time-lapse photography, beginning on the famed angles of Half Dome. “We thought it would take a weekend or maybe 5 days,” remarks Neill. “But we realized the footage was amazing. So what was supposed to be a weekend, turned into multiple trips totaling 19 days of shooting in Yosemite and three-and-a-half months of work.”
Logistically, the project involved tremendous effort. First there’s the gear. Neill gives us the list, “Cameras, batteries, tripod, 6 foot rail, essentials and necessities to survive in the woods.”
Then there’s the hiking – lots of it. For example to capture the breathtaking shots atop Half Dome, the pair had to hike 16 miles round trip with all their gear. Such a trek, loaded down with expensive equipment, can be exhausting.
But that’s only half the battle.
Because once situated in a spot, the pair often shot time-lapses from sunset – throughout the night – to sunrise. This grueling technique produced the priceless shots of the moon illuminating rock faces and mesmerizing star-filled skies rotating high above. Neill admits that capturing these overnight shots is “a continuous battle of your body being deprived of sleep, and you just have to fight it.”
Ultimately, their goal was modest. “We wanted to create something that would showcase the entire place, not just one location,” says Delehanty. “To show someone how beautiful Yosemite is, and to inspire people to go again, and relive the experience.”
The filmmakers put even more effort into the second video. They’ve hiked roughly 250 miles, and they’ve carried a lot more camera equipment in order to catch something truly moving.
“We had to work a lot harder for these shots, too, since we’d normally arrive at our destination with barely enough time to setup and capture that perfect light,” says Delehanty in an interview with io9.com. “It can take us up to an hour to get our camera gear set up and ready to shoot. I think our biggest accomplishments were the trips where we would stay up pretty much all night to capture time-lapses from sunset all the way to sunrise.”
Whether it’s in a video or in person, no matter how many times you see Yosemite, it will always shock and astound you with its beauty. These filmmakers agree. They say every sunrise and sunset in Yosemite is a unique and beautiful experience – and that’s exactly why they do what they do.
Only a place like Yosemite has the power to inspire people like Sheldon and Colin to overpower the urge to sleep and overcome miles of obstacles. For Colin it’s about “showing people places they may like to go and getting them motivated to do it.”
For Sheldon it’s about giving people an alternative to the usual, iconic photos that tend to mimic the work of Ansel Adams. He says, “This is our demonstration of the park. To show it in our own way.”
It turns out “their own way” is a true masterpiece--take 2, and luckily the power of Yosemite inspired this duo into action to create it.
That leaves us with the question, what can Yosemite inspire you to do? You don’t have to go there and conquer a giant climb on a flat rock wall or an epic hike in the snow, or even create a time-lapse video that enthralls millions of adoring viewers. Maybe you can just take Sheldon’s advice, “It’s an awesome place to relax. Just being there in general, I could be doing nothing and enjoy myself because I’m in pure serenity.”
Oddly enough, for a place that’s beautiful enough to make simply doing nothing fun, it inspires so many of us to do so many amazing things.
View the original Yosemite HD...
Yosemite HD from Project Yosemite on Vimeo.