Time-Lapse Tour Captures California at Its Breathtaking Best

Only the best of Ryan Killackey's 300,000 images made the final cut for his time-lapse series "Imagine California."

By Jonathan Lloyd
|  Wednesday, Nov 6, 2013  |  Updated 1:53 PM PDT
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Imagine California from Ryan Killackey on Vimeo.

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A Southern California photographer spent a cold night in the company of mosquitoes at Joshua Tree National Park and lugged camera equipment across dramatic landscape from San Diego to Shasta to create a stunning time-lapse video of the state's natural beauty.

"Imagine California" is a series of three time-lapse videos made with thousands of photographs taken and edited together by Ryan Killackey. Capturing the images required about five months before he spent another six months processing the images on his computer to end up with an artistic tour of California.

The movie above opens with electric night-shots of Los Angeles before closing with a vibrant celestial dance above Joshua Tree National Park -- one of the highlights for Killackey, despite unrelenting swarms of mosquitoes.

"I camped out by myself in the cold all night," he said. "It was a really difficult shot to get, and was probably the best day for it in the entire year. I was so lucky."

The theme around all three videos -- two more are coming in a few weeks -- is to capture "what a day in California is like." 

The time-lapses feature more than 50 locations throughout the state -- scroll down for a locations list. Killackey finished with more than 300,000 images, but only the best ones made the final cut, set to a score created with musician Art Pacheco.

Transporting the top-end equipment proved to be one of the biggest challenges. The equipment included a Canon 5D MkIII, Canon 6D, Canon T3i and Canon T2i, several lenses and tripods, and a six-foot motorized rail system.

If Killackey needed a shot from atop a cliff or waterfall, the equipment wasn't going to carry itself.

"If my wife saw what I had to do in order to get some of these shots, she'd keep me locked up at home," Killackey said. "There was one shot, taken at Big Sur on a cove with a sheer drop of 200 feet. At times, I could only see three feet in front of me, and gusts were over 40 mph."

Getting the Big Sur shot required a mile-long hike on a narrow path to "the perfect spot."

"I decided to do a vertical shot using a six foot rail, right on the cliff," Killackey said. "The shot came out cool, but I did have a close call when I tumbled over with the rail system."

Killackey, born and raised in Hacienda Heights, also created the "Day in California" time-lapse, posted in the summer of 2011. He lives in Rancho Cucamonga with his wife and two children.

Locations List:

1.  Los Angeles
2.  Hacienda Heights
3.  Big Bear
4.  Malibu
5.  Yosemite
6.  Ft. Bragg
7.  San Francisco
8.  Temecula
9.  Owen's Valley
10.  Mammoth
11.  Huntington Beach
12.  Santa Barbara
13.  Big Sur
14.  San Diego
15.  Burney
16.  South Lake Tahoe
17.  Sacramento
18.  Shasta
19.  Mono Lake
20.  Joshua Tree
 

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