Mark Thorpe, a Japan-based wildlife photographer, has made a timelapse of an event that is only fully visible twice a year: The passage of the Milky Way over Mount Fuji.
Thorpe, an Emmy Award-winning wildlife cameraman with 20 years of experience, moved to Japan two years ago with his Japanese wife and their son. He combined his recent interests in timelapses and astrophotography to come up with the shot.
Thorpe started photographing at 9 PM using a Canon EOS 5D3 camera, and captured additional shots with a GoPro and iPhone.
He set up his camera to shoot a 25-second exposure with a 30-second interval. That meant, said Thorpe, that the camera only had five seconds to write an image and rest before taking the next one. He repeated the process 698 times for six hours to end up with a 25-second timelapse showing the passage of the Milky Way over Mount Fuji.
Thorpe said that the Milky Way was barely visible to the naked eye, and that in order to capture it, he left the aperture of his camera lens wide open, with a super-sensitive ISO setting of 3200. These settings, along with the slow shutter speed, let a lot of light into the camera.
You can see the glow in the background; that’s the fluorescent glow from Tokyo in the night sky,” said Thorpe. He said he sneaked onto military ground so his camera would pick up less of this visual noise.