Starry Night of Northern Arizona

In the mist of discovering star night time lapse, Kristen and I were asked to have a meeting with people at the local observatory to possibly photograph staff and facilities. I thought this would be a great opportunity to show star time lapse videos around Northern Arizona at the meeting.

So, I spent several weeks photographing stars around Flagstaff. I had a peaceful time looking at stars in the middle of night and realized how lucky I am to live in the world’s first “Dark Sky” city. As I started this project, I quickly discovered that I had to research ahead of time to plan where I needed to be and at what time I needed to be there. I only got one or maybe 2 scenes from one camera a night due to long exposures and the length of the time I recorded. When I used two cameras, I got 2 – 4 clips from one night’s work. I needed to know what time the moon would rise and set so that I could show the foreground and the moon wouldn’t blind the camera. It was a very different workflow than I have had for still shoots. It took me a while to get used to coming back home with 2 or 3 shots after spending several hours in the field.

Towards the end of my project, we learned that the meeting with the observatory was cancelled due to staff changes, and I lost the stage to showcase my debut short film. But I had such a great time learning about time lapse, star photography, and spending time looking at stars that I can’t complain. And most of all, I got the chance to see the world in a different way. I hope you enjoy the movie.

Starry Night of Northern Arizona from Keiji Iwai on Vimeo.

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Keiji Iwai was born and raised in Osaka, Japan. He began taking photographs at 13 and knew immediately that this would be a life-long passion. He first came to the United States as a high school exchange student in Montana. He later returned to the U.S. to obtain a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree at Northern Arizona University. Keiji has received numerous international awards, and his work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the US. He currently resides in Flagstaff.

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