North Country Dreamland - a time lapse video of wonders of the night sky from Upper Michigan

North Country Dreamland from LakeSuperiorPhoto on Vimeo.

2013 Smithsonian in motion video competition  Viewer's Choice award winner

A northern Michigan celestial dark sky exposition
watch the video as it is embedded here or click on the vimeo tab to watch it full screen HD

photo video/edit: Shawn Malone-  follow us on Facebook

Music: David Helpling/Jon Jenkins track titled, "Lifted" from the album "The Crossing"
used with permission

This time-lapse video was compiled from over 10k photo frames equaling 33 scenes of various night sky events from Northern Michigan 2012- It took a year to shoot and a bit of tenacity and persistence to get this into a form of coherent electrified cosmic goodness.

Night sky-capes include multiple northern lights scenes, meteor showers, nebulae, planets, including Venus and Jupiter setting from Spring 2012, constellations, the milky way, comet Pan-Starrs, night-scapes over both Lake Superior and Lake Michigan.

Thought I might mention some of the more interesting wildlife encounters during the photo gathering-

1.sparring moose on Isle Royale under a pitch black sky after wrapping the Isle Royale Tobin Harbor airglow / northern lights opening scene at 3am in the morning, with their thunderous antlers clashing with fear inducing power that could be felt in the knashing soundwaves echoing in the hills, (and I had to hike a two mile 'deer path' back to my shelter in the direction of those moose, I survived to tell the tale without getting pancaked)

2. the howl of wolves in the eastern UP piercing the freezing air under a calm full moon sky

3.a particularly persistent beaver on an inland lake in the Hiawatha National Forest, determined to be in just about every frame with a methodically spaced tail slap on an otherwise beautifully FLAT CALM star reflected lake- sooo even though the star reflection sequence is blown by this beaver with a 'tude, the scene is included anyway as a humorous memory

4. the blue heron fishing for a midnight snack by auroral light at the mouth of Sand River and Lake Superior- if only I would have not moved, this heron would have walked the river bank thru the entire frame..

Rare pairings caught on camera include ribbons of aurora above a full moon fogbow on the horizon of Lake Superior, the aurora and an isolated singular lightning storm cloud over Lake Superior, and the aurora and Milky Way in several scenes including Copper Harbor, Marquette, Isle Royale, Pictured Rocks, and Eagle Harbor Lighthouse.

There are also a couple sequences of rare magenta/red aurora that I will never tire of.

I feel extremely fortunate to have witnessed and photographed the several strong auroral outbursts shown here from 2012 at a relatively southern 46.5 degrees latitude in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and am so grateful for the advances in high iso dslr technology to allow for time-lapse capture to be able to create these sequences for such high quality video reproduction of the night sky.

When one thinks of locations to go view the aurora, most people think of Alaska or Norway, but in 2012, the auroras were also over the Michigan skies every month except December- (which the aurora was out then too, but that's when our run of clouds moved in and shut me down for the year, and that cloudy streak still persists well into Spring 2013). makes everything recorded in 2012 extra special indeed..

All scenes are within 200 miles or so of my home in Marquette, Mi. and I feel very blessed to live where I do and to share the beauty that I see 'in my own backyard' with you.

I hope it inspires others to take time to find the beauty that is everywhere around us and also to raise an awareness about the importance of preserving our night wondrous starlit skies.

A special thanks to David Helpling and Jon Jenkins who granted permission to use their spectacular track, " Lifted" - from the album "The Crossing" , thanks again David and Jon- so glad to know of this track, I couldn't have thought of a more fitting and inspiring piece of music as a contributing impetus to the completion of this project- you can find more of David Helpling and Jon Jenkins music at

Video locations include Isle Royale National Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Headlands Intl Dark Sky Park, North Country Trail, Hiawatha National Forest, Marquette Michigan, Copper Harbor and Eagle Harbor MI.

Video ©Shawn Malone all rights reserved