During our week long winter break on Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, my wife Liz and I made two full day excursions in our little hire car up to the Teide National Park, high up in the centre of the island.
The weather at sea level was mostly cloudy, especially to the north of the island which seems to attract moisture laden air off the Atlantic ocean which then condenses into clouds as it rises up the slopes of Mount Teide.
Which is one of the reasons we spent so much of our holiday at high altitude around the volcano, above the layer of cloud and in the bright warm sunshine at 6,500ft.
Mind you, being above the layer of cloud was also great for spectacular views of Mount Teide, rising up majestically to its paeak at 12,000ft, out of a sea of billowing vapour covering the land below, and I was determined to photograph a time lapse of the clouds swirling around with the beautifully conical volcano also in the frame.
To that end, towards the end of the day, we drove north to the boundary of the National Park and the Mirador de Chipeque viewpoint, hoping that we'd get the view we wanted from that lookout.
Well I wasn't disappointed, with a stunning view out over a sea of billowing cloud, with Mount Teide in the background and the setting sun just starting to drop towards the false horizon of the cloudbank.
With no time to lose I set up my camera on its tripod (I knew there was a good reason to fly it here!) and set it off recording a frame every six seconds, to catch the movement in the clouds without it being too jerky.
With the sun also in the frame I started my run of exposures at an aperture of f22, to give me a pretty sunstar effect as the sun dipped, but once the sun had vanished I gradually changed the aperture of my camera back to its default time lapse setting of f4 as the sky rapidly darkened.
With sunset at 7.35pm, by 8 o'clock I was ready to pack up, thinking that I'd squeezed all the action possible out of the situation, but I final look at my camera's monitor showed me something strange was happening.
The sea of cloud, which had turned blue in the twilight glow from the sky, was now infused with patches of orange light, seemingly coming from below.
Intrigued, I kept on shooting, again altering the exposure in small increments as the sky continued to darken and the orange glow in the clouds became more pronounced.
I eventually realised that the orange light I was seeing in the clouds was, in fact, the lights of Puerto de la Cruz several thousand feet below me on the north coast of the island, shining up through the thin layer of cloud still swirling around.
The effect was wonderful, and I kept on exposing for another half hour until the sky had become fully dark and the cloud glow had reached its peak intensity before we finally packed up for the night and began the long drive back down the winding roads to the coast.
What an amazing experience!
Filename - tenerife teide timelapse 03.mp4
Camera - Canon EOS 6D
Lens - 24-105mm zoom @ 32mm
Exposure (start of sequence) - 1/80 sec @ f22, ISO100
Exposure (end of sequence) - 6 secs @ f4, ISO1600
Filters - None
Capture interval - 6 seconds
Location - Teide National Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands
This clip - HD 720p
Clip duration - 36 seconds
All content copyright © Howard Litherland 2009-2018 unless otherwise stated.