To capture the Milky Way in all its glory, Saengthit says you need a moonless sky, mosquito repellent and a willingness to take your chances with the occasional ghost.
In his most ambitious project yet, time-lapse photographer Saengthit Kamlangchai tours some of Thailand's lesser-known provinces and adds stunning night-time images of the Milky Way. Watch the HD video and read his explanation of how it was done.
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True Beauty: a time-lapse by Saengthit Kamlangchai
Video, photos and story by Saengthit Kamlangchai
One of objectives of this film project is to show the beauty of the Milky Way in Thailand, something which I don't think has ever been done before in time-lapse form. The filming period spanned four months and included provinces from northern to southern regions such as Nan, Buriram, Samut Songkhram and Trang Province.
The reason this film project took longer than usual is because I wanted to capture the most beautiful season for each province. For example, the most beautiful period for most of Northern Thailand is between October and January due to the presence of misty clouds and cool weather. For most southern beaches of Thailand, the most beautiful period is during March to April, as the sunny weather renders the seawater crystal clear for most islands.
If you can, be sure to watch the video in HD with full-screen. It is very smooth, but on some systems you might need to let it load fully first.
Taking photographs of the Milky Way is relatively easy once you grasp four concepts: the location of the Milky Way, moonrise and moonset, light pollution and camera settings.
The location of the Milky Way is pretty simple to find as many pc/mobile apps are available to help you with that. One of the easiest-to-use apps is Stellarium (http://www.stellarium.org). The interface is user-friendly and you can start exploring our galaxy as soon as you open the program. Best of all, it's free.
A view from inside Chom Phon Cave near Chom Bueng in Ratdchaburi province.
Once you know the location of the Milky Way, another important thing is understanding the moonrise and moonset period. Setting out on your journey to photograph the Milky Way should be done in the darkest night sky which means after the moon has set. (The best website for this information is http://app.photoephemeris.com/ .)
The next thing to consider is light pollution. Your camera location should be as far away from the city lights as possible. The darker the location the better – although it is also scarier. Some websites can show you the amount of light pollution in a city, e.g., http://www.lightpollutionmap.info/, but it is still a little tricky as the information is not actually up-to-date. Personally, I don't use any app and rely more on a "leap of faith" as I have no idea if light pollution is low enough in an area for a Milky Way shot before I set out for the location.
Once these three factors are set, the last thing is your camera setting. A tripod should be used with a typical manual setting of 30s shutter / 2.8F / 6400 ISO. Your camera should be able to see the Milky Way. Then you can adjust the setting to suit your photography style.
Other than the Milky Way, this film also shows the most beautiful landmarks within the (approximately) 12 provinces I visited. The film shows the architecture of mosques, churches and temples, the beauty of nature (the mountains, mist clouds, beach, sea, river, islands, forests and caves) and special projects such as the Wind Turbine Project and Hydro Powerplant in Nakhon Si Thammarat.
A total of 20,000 photos were taken taken during the trip, and about 13,000 photos of the most beautiful locations were selected to be used for this film production. The film also contains a total of 46 locations. You can see all the location names plus still photos from this and previous videos here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.687497021396260.1073741829.159960490816585&type=3
Making a Time Lapse film certainly requires lots of patience and you'll face a variety of problems, many of which are non-photography related, e.g. mosquitoes and even the rumoured existence of ghosts. The most important thing is that you have to genuinely enjoy what you're doing, and do it not for yourself but for your viewers. This way, many of the problems you face would seem too small to be bothered with.
Previous videos and stories by Saengthit:
Learn from listening
Click "play" to listen to True Beauty: a time-lapse by Saengthit Kamlangchai and "Download" to keep this file for educational purpose.
adjust : to change something slightly, especially to make it more correct, effective, or suitable - ปรับ
application (app) : a program designed to do a particular job; a piece of software - โปรแกรมใช้งาน, โปรแกรมคอมพิวเตอร์
architecture : a particular style or way of designing buildings - สถาปัตยกรรม, รูปแบบการก่อสร้าง
beauty : the quality of being beautiful or very good to look at - ความสวยงาม
bothered : worried, angry or sad about something - วิตกกังวล หงุดหงิด
cave : a large hole in the side of a hill or under the ground - ถ้ำ
concept : a principle or idea - ความคิด
crystal clear : completely transparent (you can see through it) and very bright - แจ่มชัด, แจ๋วแหวว
due to : because of - เนื่องจาก
existence : the state of being a real or living thing - การมีชีวิตอยู่
explore : to examine something completely or carefully in order to find out more about it - สำรวจ,ตรวจ
factor : a fact or situation which influences the result of something - ปัจจัย
galaxy : any of the large systems of stars, etc. in outer space - กลุ่มดาวกาแล็กซี, ดาราจักร
genuinely : really; sincerely; honestly - โดยแท้
ghost (noun): the spirit of a dead person that someone sees or hears - ผี
grasp (verb): to understand something completely - เข้าใจ, รู้ซึ้ง
interface : the way a computer program, mobile device, etc. presents information to a user or receives information from a user, in particular the layout of the screen and the menus - อินเตอร์เฟส, การติดต่อประสานระหว่างเครื่องคอมพิวเตอร์กับผู้ใช้ เช่น แป้นพิมพ์, จอภาพ ต่างก็เป็นตัวประสานกับผู้ใช้ทั้งสิ้น
landmark : a building or place that is easily recognised, especially one which you can use to judge where you are - สถานที่ที่เป็นจุดสังเกต
leap of faith (idiom): doing something you think will succeed but you can be certain it will -
location : where someone or something is - ที่ตั้ง,ทำเล
manual (adj.): by hand, not done automatically - ด้วยมือ
Milky Way (noun): the system of stars that contains our sun and its planets, seen as a bright band in the night sky - ทางช้างเผือก, นภสินธุ์
misty (adj): with a lot of mist, clouds of very small drops of water in the air just above the ground, that make it difficult to see - ที่ปกคลุมด้วยหมอก
moonrise (noun): the time when the moon first appears in the sky - การขึ้นของพระจันทร์, ช่วงเวลาพระจันทร์ขึ้น
moonset (noun): the time when the moon disappears from the sky - การตกของพระจันทร์, ช่วงเวลาพระจันทร์ตก
mosque : a building in which Muslims worship - มัสยิด, สุเหร่า
mosquito repellent (noun): chemicals used to keep mosquitoes away from people or animals - ยากันยุง
objectives : goals; aims; things that you plan to achieve - จุดมุ่งหมาย
occasional : happening or done sometimes but not often - ซึ่งเป็นครั้งคราว
patience : the ability to wait for a long time without becoming angry or upset - ความอดทน
pollution (noun): contaminated, when something has been made dirty, poisonous, unpleasant to see or smell and possibly dangerous to health - การทำให้เป็นมลพิษ, การทำให้สกปรก, ภาวะมลพิษ, สภาวะมลพิษ, มลภาวะเป็นพิษ, สภาพเป็นพิษ, ความสกปรก
presence : when someone or something is in a place - การอยู่ในสถานที่หนึ่ง (ของบุคคล)
relatively : somewhat; in comparison with someone or something similar - ค่อนข้าง
rely on : to depend on or trust - พึ่งพา เชื่อถือ ไว้ใจ
render (verb): to make or cause to be - ทำให้
rumoured : to be reported as a rumour (information that may or may not be true) - ปล่อยข่าวลือ,เล่าลือ,ซุบซิบ
scary : frightening - น่าตกใจ, น่ากลัว
simple : easy to understand; not complicated - ง่าย,ไม่ยุ่งยาก, ไม่ซับซ้อน
spanned : lasted throughout a period of time - กินเวลา
time-lapse (adj.): (of photography) using a method in which a series of individual pictures of a process are shown together so that something that really happens very slowly is shown as happening very quickly - ซึ่งเกี่ยวกับเทคนิคการถ่ายภาพอย่างช้าๆ
tricky : difficult to do or deal with - ยาก
tripod : an object with three legs that is used for supporting something such as a camera - ขาตั้งสามขา
typical : happening in the usual way; showing what something is usually like - ตามแบบฉบับ, ตามปกติ
up-to-date (adjective): with the newest and latest news, information and ideas - ทันสมัย, ปัจจุบัน
variety (noun): many different types of things or people - ความหลากหลาย
willingness (noun): not objecting to doing something; having no reason for not doing something - ความเต็มใจ, ความสมัครใจ