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Gorgeous Time-Lapse Video Highlights America’s Great Spaces

By Will Halicks

It’s a classic 9-to-5 daydream: Quit your day job, grab a couple of friends, and hit the road.

This summer, photographer Shane Black turned that fantasy into reality. Adventure Is Calling is the result: a beautiful time-lapse video made from about 10,000 images he shot on a journey across the United States he took with two photographer friends.

Black said the trip began as a joke among the three of them. But as plans got more serious, they all committed to leaving their jobs to travel for two months.

Black had worked at the Scotts Miracle-Gro headquarters in Marysville, Ohio, for six years, assisting with research and development. Part of his duties included feeding the cockroaches kept on hand for pesticide trials every Thursday morning.

But the job wasn’t leading him where he wanted to go, and Ohio held scant prospects for the landscape photography he wanted to pursue.

He gave his manager a month’s notice before setting off on a nearly 13,000-mile (20,921-kilometer) journey in a Dodge Caravan without cruise control. The photographers managed to visit 32 states and 13 national parks.

Teaching photography workshops in major cities across the country helped them finance their journey. The online photo-sharing site Flickr and soft drink giant Coca-Cola also supported the trip.

The workshops turned into their own kind of day job for Black, who spent his off-hours shooting time-lapses of America’s great spaces, often after his friends turned in for the night.

“Most nights I’d actually drop them off at a hotel around 10 or so, and head back out for shooting the stars until about 3 a.m.,” he said.

Black faced plenty of challenges along the way. His external hard drive crashed in Los Angeles while he was backing it up, wiping out some of what he’d shot at Grand Tetons National Park.

Fortunately, many of those sequences survived, including the one at 01:47 in the video, in which he captured a lightning storm flashing beneath starry skies. (Learn more about Grand Teton National Park.)

Even when things went smoothly, finding the perfect vantage point often took serious legwork. It was a grueling trek to Crater Lake in Oregon, where he captured one of his favorite sequences—a segment starting at 02:53 in the video.

“That hike up there with about 50-plus pounds of gear was awful,” he said. “Especially because I was running on about two granola bars, so I had no energy.”

His reward: getting to see the Milky Way in its full splendor.

Black and his friends are already making plans for another workshop-anchored trip in summer 2014. In the meantime, he plans to move from his native Ohio to the Pacific Northwest, land of “mountains and dark skies”—the stuff great time-lapses are made of.


  1. Bruce Cotton
    October 13, 2014, 7:12 pm

    I’ve known Shane for many years ,from a small kid bowling to a large kid bowling with several 300 games.It shows he has many talents, this talent seems to out weigh the rest. I’m quite partial to his work it could be because He’s my Wife’s cousin or just in awe of the beauty of his work. Either way don’t stop this serene photography. Thank You “Cous”

  2. Anacaren
    May 23, 2014, 12:32 am

    I support you Sarah Arnold!!!DONT JUDGE US!!

  3. Sarah Arnold
    January 6, 2014, 3:07 pm

    I have watched this 8 times already,the first time I watched it I cried.

  4. Sarah Arnold
    January 4, 2014, 9:38 pm

    So……….amazing what God has created so perfectly,that really amazes me the most about the world and creation also us.

  5. Sarah Arnold
    January 4, 2014, 9:32 pm

    Pam Souers,I loved your post about God,I am a Presbyterian we attend to share the gospel, and soften peoples hearts to believe in the one true creator.

  6. Rad
    December 13, 2013, 1:25 pm

    Great nature timelapse.
    Here is a timelapse of the last eruptions of Etna, Italy:

  7. Nancy W.
    Middleboro, MA.
    December 10, 2013, 8:52 pm

    While watching, I had the happiest sense of taking a nature filled and fabulous vacation, 2 months in 5 minutes. This may be a new genre for travel photography. Kudos!

  8. Kirill
    November 22, 2013, 1:37 pm

    Hi! Please check my winter/summer timelapse

  9. pant puran
    November 10, 2013, 8:37 am

    A beautiful, thrilling &amazing vedio welldone thanks

  10. Maciek
    November 1, 2013, 5:06 pm

    I found this one about year ago:

  11. Shane C
    Alberta Canada
    November 1, 2013, 8:56 am

    Best time-lapse video I have ever seen. Incredible thanks to Shane Black and Nat Geo. Truly worth watching think I will link this up to my HDTV and watch it if I can. This should look even better on the large screen.

  12. J. Brown
    Southern New Jersey
    October 31, 2013, 1:30 pm

    Film shows how small we are in the universe but what a beautiful planet we live on – thanked God for this gift – was really awesome!!

  13. Luiz Tadeu Geraldi
    October 29, 2013, 10:00 am

    Sem a National Geographic não teriam-mos estas imagens e nunca saberiam-mos que isto existem em nosso planeta.
    Curto muito este canal pois nos possibilita a apreciar esta lindas imagem que de outra forma não as veriam.
    Parabéns a National Geographic pela a grandeza deste serviço e que continuem a estas belíssimas imagem.

  14. Kathryn Cavanagh
    woodbridge ca
    October 28, 2013, 1:08 am

    Truly, amazing! and breath taking. You have given us a blessing so divine. God Bless

  15. Cookie
    Tarpon Springs, FL
    October 27, 2013, 10:12 pm

    Absolutely stunning. Thank you National Geographic for sharing this great endeavor! And, thanks be to God for creating this great universe.

  16. C.Hamada
    Osaka, Japan
    October 27, 2013, 2:47 am

    Hmm, just superb and I have been overwhelmed…!!!! Absolutely you made a right decision to travel around and film all those fantastic views like jewels. Human beings are small in comparison with the great nature!
    I will watch this video repeatedly especially when I want to cheer me up.
    Thanks a lot for your work to create the beauty.

  17. Bernhard Raab
    October 27, 2013, 12:57 am

    Very impressive work!!!! Hard to believe how you took the pictures and broght the light within the tent and also the milkyway on the same picture! Especially because the pictures are moving…

  18. Elisabella
    October 26, 2013, 9:34 am

    I have a pretty stressful job..this really helped me relax so I could go to sleep after work. I wish I had a screen on my bedroom ceiling. Thanks for sharing : )

  19. Rupal
    Mumbai, India
    October 26, 2013, 3:25 am

    It’s like going in a different world!! What a beautiful dream u guys pursued.. Bravo!!

  20. Tom Pugh
    Bristol, TN
    October 26, 2013, 3:20 am

    Every so often, we get to see where we REALLY live. Thanks for reminding us.

  21. Barbara Doroszkiewicz
    October 25, 2013, 11:54 pm

    Piekny film, szczegolnie to niebo! Dla mnie bomba!

  22. Karen
    Brasília, Brasil
    October 25, 2013, 9:29 pm

    What a awesome work… this is beautiful!
    Amazing jog! Thank you!

  23. frak juarez
    los anjeles c.
    October 25, 2013, 8:49 pm

    hay cosas que tratamos de explicar para que llegue asta lo mas remoto de nuestro gusto pero ver esto es pasar de un velo normal a nuestra naturaleza rral del cosmo esto nos expresa el paso que sigue de nuestra vida algo mejor esta por venir, gracias por demostrarnos su trabajo.

  24. Vicente
    San Pedro de la Paz, Chile
    October 25, 2013, 8:49 pm

    Video fantástico lo que he sentido al ver las imágenes y escuchar su música es enerrable.

  25. Vicente
    San Pedro de la Paz, Chile
    October 25, 2013, 8:47 pm

    Video fantástico lo que he sentido al ver las imágenes y escuchar su música es enerrable. Felicitaciones a los autores

  26. Sophie Long
    October 25, 2013, 8:04 pm

    What camera were you using? Magical stuff…

  27. Lawrence B. Erdile
    Milk River, Alberta Canada
    October 25, 2013, 4:12 pm

    Watching it once is not enough.
    Thank you for this experience.

  28. Liudmila Canevari
    Gomel Belarus -Prato Italy
    October 25, 2013, 2:08 pm

    Great job! Tanks for this video ! What wonderful our Earth! Music in this video very beautiful!

  29. Mónica Villa
    Guadalajara, Jal. Mëx.
    October 25, 2013, 1:21 pm

    Amazing job!

  30. Archana Sharma
    United States
    October 25, 2013, 12:49 pm

    Amazing work!

  31. Slavko Jakubec
    Tuzla,Bosna i Hercegovina
    October 25, 2013, 11:58 am

    Fantastičan video i neopisiva priroda.Hvala

  32. Jerindo
    Purwokerto - Indonesia
    October 25, 2013, 11:16 am

    Great !

  33. Pam Souers
    October 25, 2013, 10:39 am

    Wow! Amazing Like our God our Creator! Such a spectacular job at capturing What He has given us to enjoy! Thank you Shane and praying God will give you more opportunity to bring glory to Him!

  34. Laura
    October 25, 2013, 10:07 am

    Amazing job!
    siempre estamos en condiciones de realizar nuestros sueños

  35. J K Sommers
    Bellingham WA
    October 25, 2013, 10:02 am

    Such a wonderful expression of Earth’s unseen beauty (how many would sit up all night watching) What is floating across the screen at 2:03? a dark cloud where there isn’t anything to make it out of – keep up the great work (how did you get sponsors for your road trip)?

  36. rosie
    October 25, 2013, 9:18 am

    thanks for sharing. would love to see this on an imax screen. i felt like i was under the stars. how wonderful, your creation!

  37. Carol Petersen
    October 25, 2013, 9:17 am

    The most beautiful thing I’ve seen in a long time!

  38. Raph
    Lyon, France
    October 25, 2013, 9:11 am

    Ouhaou, great great job ! What is the music ? Juste awesome!

  39. andres carrasco
    New York, NY
    October 25, 2013, 9:09 am

    wow words can describe what i felt when i was watching this video is so incredible that there is so much beauty in this life, and so many soulless people are destroying it. L0V3 and PeAC3 THANK YOU NAT GEO

  40. Jeff Donley
    Ankara, Turkey
    October 25, 2013, 8:48 am

    “Gorgeous” doesn’t do justice to describe the landscapes and Milky Way galaxy. At times the images are truly phantasmagorical and breath-taking.

    Thank you so much for the effort you guys made to make this astonishing video.

  41. Rob Payne
    Skokie, IL
    October 25, 2013, 8:38 am

    Great photography and well choreographed. The night pictures take on a different perspective if one remembers the stars are stationary, we are the ones that are moving. You can feel us drifting through the galaxy on our little asteroid.

  42. anish
    October 25, 2013, 6:59 am

    awesome work…thanks alot….this encourage us to accomplish our dreams…

  43. Mark Green
    October 25, 2013, 6:53 am

    A simply beautiful video that makes refreshing change from seeing numerous updates about celebrity hair cuts or Lady Gaga’s latest food item clothing. Between Nat Geo and BBC you keep me sane! Thank you for this and great work.

  44. Suzete Ribeiro
    Wexford - Ireland
    October 25, 2013, 6:01 am

    You are brilliant man !!!
    I’m amazed with your job !!! Cos if we take a thousent of pictures with only smoothly difference between each other, people would say : YOU CRAZY !! Why so many similar picture!?? But seing it now in right sequence and speed it’s become AMAZING, AWEEESOME, WONDERFUL VIDEO with looks like a movie , but no … Its picture in sequencing movement !!! OMG !! It’s picture alive !!! Keep doing it and THANK YOU !!!! God bless <3 x

  45. sharath
    Sydney , Australia
    October 25, 2013, 5:42 am

    This Absolutely EPIC .. Hats off to u guys !!!!!
    No Words to describe…. Good u mate !!!!!!!! n Good Luck

  46. Reinalyn De Guzman
    Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
    October 25, 2013, 5:33 am

    Utterly beautiful 🙂

  47. anas p paramban
    Calicut, kerala, india
    October 25, 2013, 5:01 am

    What a great one yaar….

  48. Tom
    London, England
    October 25, 2013, 4:38 am

    Fantastic video and sequence.
    If only the skies were like that in real time.

  49. Bob Benson
    Eastbourne, UK
    October 25, 2013, 3:21 am

    What a wonderful show, brilliant photography combined with our own mother nature, they just gel together. Keep it up.

  50. Paul Giavotella
    U.S.A. South Eastern Louisiana
    October 25, 2013, 3:12 am

    I do appreciate this so very much and enjoyed it a lot. Thanks for allowing me to share in your journey and sense the amazing world we live in and that is around us. Feels almost as I took a trip myself but only for 5 mins…God Bless and Keep Up the Excellent Work!!

    October 25, 2013, 2:35 am

    Fantastic efforts and lots of patience. Hats off to an amazing piece of work. Congrats.

  52. Veronica Faid
    Northumberland, England
    October 25, 2013, 2:28 am

    While the world runs around like frantic little ants, the earth in space rolls on quietly. Epically beautiful timelapse. Thank you for sharing that moment in time.

  53. Dan Mata
    gum usa
    October 25, 2013, 2:28 am

    Excellent n great job

  54. mojtaba
    October 25, 2013, 2:24 am

    really like a dream…….
    I like it

  55. Juliet
    Manila, Philippines
    October 25, 2013, 1:55 am

    we have one Great God who made all of these magnificient views..thank you Mr Shane Black and to your friends for sharing this awesome video to us..may God bless your team! ^_^

  56. javier
    La Paz Baja California Sur, Mexico
    October 25, 2013, 1:37 am

    La verdad es una de las cosas mas increíbles que he visto, solo que me gustaría saber que son esas luces que pasan velozmente en el minuto 2:52 en el cielo por encima de las montañas, se que esta en cámara rápida. solo que es una duda, y mis felicitaciones por la calidad excelente de su trabajo.

  57. Felipe
    Viña del Mar, Chile
    October 25, 2013, 1:30 am

    Astonishingly beautiful :’)

  58. Marissa Fischer
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    October 25, 2013, 1:27 am

    This is stunning. How do we get this guy to team up with IMAX? I could totally go for a 45min version of this.

  59. Arvind
    October 25, 2013, 1:08 am

    Great work.

  60. Hizqiel
    October 25, 2013, 1:03 am

    Hi, wanna ask..
    What is the camping dome brang?
    I wanna buy it

  61. Janet Hodnik
    Saint Paul, MN
    October 25, 2013, 12:48 am

    Gorgeous and splendid. Perhaps the next one could include beautiful Lake Superior and the Pacific Northwest.

  62. Aldric
    Port of Spain, Trinidad
    October 25, 2013, 12:44 am

    Dude!… Awesome stuff!

    October 25, 2013, 12:38 am

    Great work may God bless every one of you

  64. Priyanka P
    October 24, 2013, 5:35 pm

    You have done an extremely wonderful work. I loved it a lot. Simply beautiful. My words are too less to describe my emotions for it. Amazing!!!

  65. Audrey
    Shelburne, VT
    October 24, 2013, 5:17 pm

    That’s an amazing video.

  66. Natalia
    Seattle, WA
    October 24, 2013, 4:57 pm

    Amazing! This makes me want to do the same thing. Thanks for filming this and sharing it with the rest of us!

  67. don baker
    prescott valley, az
    October 24, 2013, 4:57 pm

    Great little video. Is there a website I can go to that contains a list of the places in the video?

  68. Wow
    October 24, 2013, 4:19 pm

    So inspiring…

  69. Ana
    Porto Alegre Brazil
    October 24, 2013, 2:24 pm

    I’m glad there are people who know how to light up our lives. This video is awesome . Thanks!

  70. Bilal Chaudhary
    Boulder, CO
    October 24, 2013, 10:51 am

    Every great journey starts with a dream…Keep pursuing your dreams and keep travelling… Great work and thank you…