Rattlesnake Sunrise Time-Lapse Part 1 – Chasing Elusive Sunbeams

Today was the second day in a row that I got my family up to watch the sunrise. Yesterday we observed the movement of the shadows and sun across Rattlesnake Ridge and today we went there again to attempt to film a sunrise.

The sky was clear, however it was not as nice and comfortable as it was yesterday. Today Myke and Jasper spent most of the morning in the car to keep warm and I froze my tits off in piercing cold winds, seated in a fold out camping chair with my tripod and camera in front of me. I didn’t have a weight to stabilize my tripod so I sat there for an hour and 20 minutes holding it down. The wind was fierce.

When I started filming it was still pitch black and I couldn’t see if I had the ridge in frame. I just made a guess as to where it might be and rolled the camera.

My original intention was to film the sunbeams rolling down the mountain. I wasn’t sure what time that took place, so I set up this morning as an experiment in time.  As luck would have it, the moment the sun first kissed the top of the ridge and began to roll its golden beams toward the ground, the camera went dead.

I was not disappointed with my footage though. What you see in this film is the time-lapse footage of my hour by the ridge. The ridge comes into view as the sunlight first begins its journey to shine over the mountains. It was incredibly windy so you can see the trees and the water become animated as the mountain lights up and comes into view. At the very end of the film you see the first rays of sunlight at the very top of the mountain. Its very beautiful.

After observing this morning’s sunrise I know what time I’ll want to begin filming my next experiment to capture that ribbon of sunlight falling over the ridge.

I felt like I had been waiting so long for that first beam of light to hit the top of the ridge this morning. I’m sure it would have been very comical to see the range of emotion that washed over me. When the top of the mountain began to turn gold with light an overwhelming sensation of happiness overcame me. I watched that light trickle down and was so pleased that I was filming this wonder. Then, all of the sudden my heart sank as I heard a mocking tune twinkling  from my camera, signaling that it was shutting down. Then screen when black. The quietness of the morning was rudely interrupted with a loud contemptuous cry of disappointment!

“MutherF*#ker!”  The words erupted from my lips and bounced off the hills scattering birds and small woodland creatures in it’s wake.

Yes, it was frustrating that the camera shut down just when I was about to see some sweet sunbeam action but, not to worry, I did enjoy an awesome sunrise and completed my first experiment in time-lapse photography.

Now I have a better idea of what to film next time to get the footage I really want. It was a good morning.


I wrote this post while I was rendering and uploading my film. I just realized that I misspelled February in the beginning credits. I tried to fix it, but lost my original project file. Thank goodness I still have this mp4 so I can document my first experiment. What an emotional rollercoaster it is to be a film maker.

This entry was posted in The Ray Bradbury School of Creative Arts, Time-Lapse Photography. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Rattlesnake Sunrise Time-Lapse Part 1 – Chasing Elusive Sunbeams

  1. M)t#rf^(k$R is my go-to word too. That sucks. But I wouldn’t feel cheated if you didn’t tell me to. The texture, motion, wind. Plus, most viewers don’t have the stamina to wait for small things, so this is long enough for most tastes.

  2. Yeah, it is kinda long. I may experiment with filming fewer frames per/second to see if I can speed it up more.

    I was really only upset for a tiny little moment about the camera crapping out. Over all, I’m satisfied with the experiment and I’m learning a lot about studying shadows and sun movement. I may put this project on the back burner until summer. It is so cold out there…and windy.

    Thank you for taking the time to check it out. 🙂

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