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Maryland Nights II
Photo By Mark Kochte

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Video By: Mark Kochte

Video Details

  • Title: Maryland Nights II
  • Description: This astrolapse (night-sky time-lapse video) took about 6 months to shoot, and nearly 9 months to find both the time to work on and to learn new software to put the video together. But after a LONG wait, it is finally done!

    These sequences were shot in dark(ish) areas around the state of Maryland. Unfortunately, due to Maryland’s size, shape, and population centers/metropolises in and immediately around the state, there are very few truly dark locales in which one can visit to enjoy the night sky. The closest to me were 2 to 2-1/2 hour drives away, making for a very committing evening to get any shots taken (so I had to be very picky about what weather I was shooting in). Since my last video (West Virginia Nights - I’ve put on another 35,000 miles to my car. A good chunk of it due to this and other astrolapses I was shooting all last year.

    Some factoids:

    As you can see from watching the video, light pollution just pervades the horizons.

    All the naked-eye visible planets except Mercury make an appearance in this video

    Venus is in many of the sequences (e.g., 0:18, 0:46, 1:14, 1:52, 2:40) as a very bright star-like object. Jupiter appears at 1:52, 2:40

    Saturn is center bright yellowish star-like object to the left of the other bright star (Spica) at 1:05

    Mars is the yellowish-orange bright star-like object just down right of center at 2:15

    The final sequence features a crescent Moon, during a conjunction with Jupiter and Venus, forming an isosceles triangle shape.

    At 0:12 a satellite drifts through the opening between the tree branches right of center (note: most of the rest of the fast streaks you see in the video are planes)

    I caught the tail-end of a thunderstorm on the horizon at 1:52. It lasts only for a fraction of a second in the video, 20 minutes in real life. The red streak of light on the underside of the telescope was from the red light on the battery powering the dolly.

    The telescope at 2:05 is a Meade ETX-125 that I brought along to look through while I was doing an astrolapse shot. Did not use it while I did that sequence, though.

    The Point Lookout State Park sequences were acquired with special permission from the Head Park Ranger Christy Bright.

    Technical Details:

    Cameras used: Nikon D7000
    ISOs: ranged from 1600-3200
    Exposure times: ranged from 15-25 seconds
    Lens F-stops: ranged from f/2.8 (14mm Rokinon) to f/3.5 (18-105 Nikon kit lens)
    Post-processing: Lightroom 3
    Video creation and rendering: Final Cut Pro X

    Sequence motion courtesy of Dynamic Perceptions Stage Zero Dolly, except the sequences at 1:05 and 2:15 which was done using a Celestron Sky-Watcher telescope mount.

    Sequences shot at Cornfield Harbor, Paw Paw Tunnel, Point Lookout Creek, Point Lookout State Park, Point Lookout (Green Ridge State Forest), Tanner Creek

    Music by Sarah Schachner (, “Requiem For A Planet” (short version)

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