Photographer Christoph Malin says he’s not an office guy. That’s good, because the time he spent milking the skies above La Palma, a volcanic island in the Spanish Canaries, means we get to enjoy a taste of astronomy paradise.
Watching Malin’s time lapse, “Island in the Sky,” it’s easy to forgot how subtle sky movements usually are as clouds swim by, bobbing like waves, and warm daylight gives way to cold blue, and then black sky pinpricked with light.
You’re reminded that the world is in constant motion, and we’re simply hitching a ride on some large, rotating orb.
Malin, who lives in Austria, sounds reverent when he speak of La Palma, which lies at the far end of the Canary Islands, off the northwest coast of Africa. He’s made a dozen visits there since 2006, and got permission from the Astrophysics Institute of the Canaries to stay several days at the observatory that sits on Roque de los Muchachos, nearly 8,000 feet above sea level.
“Sometimes you get the feeling you’re standing on Mars,” he says. “The stars in the Milky Way are so bright, you get a shadow on your feet.”
Malin did a lot of camping and hiking to get his shots, using several cameras that could individually shoot 990 pictures in a row. He changed camera batteries every few hours during the night and amassed thousands of pictures that he first started stringing together for his 2011 time-lapse “The Island.”
“I started getting a sense for time again—a sense of the universe,” he reflects. “This I really appreciate.”
If you want to know what he means, click on the video and watch the universe pass by.