The Grand Canyon is the most popular tourist destination in the U.S. but you have probably never seen the sight quite like Harun Mehmedinović and Gavin Heffernan have captured it. While shooting for Skyglow Project, a program designed to raise awareness on light pollution, the photographers managed to capture a phenomenon known as cloud inversion, turning it into an incredible time lapse.
When a layer of warm air traps cold air in a canyon underneath, the moisture buildup creates a cloud, filling the canyon with a fluffy white ocean and putting viewers above the clouds even with two feet on solid ground. Heffernan, a filmmaker, and Mehmedinović, a photographer, traveled to the Grand Canyon on one of those rare occasions, stringing hundreds of shots together to show the phenomenon from different locations and angles — even continuing underneath a starlit sky.
The project was shot with a Canon 5DSR and a 5D Mark III, with Canon serving as a sponsor for the project. The duo also used the Alpine Labs Michron and Pulse camera triggers, as well as drawing power from the Paul C. Buff Vagabond Mini and processing the shots with LRTimelapse.
The video, which originally appeared on BBC Earth, was shot, edited and produced by Mehmedinović, with help from Heffernan. The project was also supported by the International Dark-Sky Association. Mehmedinović’s work has frequented National Geographic, Discovery Science and Astronomy Magazine. In 2015, a still photo of the same phenomenon earned him honors among the National Geographic’s best travel photos of 2015.
Mehmedinović and Heffernan’s work for Skyglow Project involves turning 150,000 miles and 3 million pictures into a hardcover book and time-lapse video series. The artists’ shots of the night sky are working to raise awareness on how light pollution not only affects the views of the cosmos but disrupts ecosystems, wastes energy, and even impacts human health.