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Time-lapse of Mayan Armageddon from Fairbanks, Alaska

Mayan Armageddon Solstice Time Lapse

Erik Bachmann

With temperatures hovering around a chilly 45 below zero, the low sun angle of the shortest day of the year in Fairbanks, Alaska, provided little warmth and was a far cry from the fire and brimstone prophesied, according to some, by the end of the Long Count Calendar used by Mayans thousands of years ago.

While none were excited about the prospective end of the world, as the camera clicked away, we couldn’t help but think a little hellfire might be nice after the cold temperatures in the Fairbanks area these last few weeks.

The morning of winter solstice we woke around 8:30 a.m., knowing we still had plenty of time to set up the camera equipment before sunrise at 11. Funny thing, though: when you want it to be light during the Alaskan winter it never is, but when you’re trying to capture first light it happens way before you expect it.  As we rolled out of the house just after 9 the sky was already blue with just the perfect touch of pink.  So much for getting first light, but with the lack of clouds in the sky and the Alaska Range in full view dominating the southern skyline, we knew it would be a perfect day for photographing and the stress over our late departure became irrelevant.  An hour later we were set up upstairs in one of the large windows of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, who graciously let us block their hallway with our equipment and visit and revisit their exhibits for the next 7 hours.

The final time lapse that you see here is composed of 2,333 photos.  That is one photo taken every 9 seconds from 10 am until a little after 3:30 pm.  Our hope was to capture the brief daily appearance and the low trajectory of the sun from these northern latitudes. I think we did just that, see for yourselves. ...

Read more at the Western Lens Photography blog.