Incredible “Day to Night” Photography – Wait But Why

I met Stephen Wilkes at the TED conference this year. He also did a talk at the conference, about an innovative kind of photography he’s become known for.

Stephen creates what he calls “Day to Night” photographs by going to a beautiful or interesting place and planting himself in one spot for around 24 hours. Over that time, he’ll snap as many as 1,500 photographs of the same exact frame.

When he’s done, he chooses the photos that he thinks captured the most special moments of the day and night—the greatest hits of the 24-hour period—and overlays them on top of one another to create one grand image. The end results are stunning, and by staring at one for a while, you can actually learn a lot about what goes on in that particular spot on the earth.

My favorite is this one from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania (click to see it in higher res):

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, Day to Night, 2015

Amazing, right? Everything you see in this image happened on one particular day. In his talk, Stephen describes his awe watching these creatures peacefully share the same resource—a little pond of fresh water.

Here’s another, from Coney Island:

DAY_TO_NIGHT_CONEY_ISLAND_20110816
Every person in the image was specifically chosen by Stephen to be included in the image. Countless more didn’t make the cut.

Another—New York in winter:
DAY_TO_NIGHT_CENTRAL_PARK_WINTER
El Capitan in Yosemite National Park:
Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park, Day to Night, 2014
St Mark’s Campanile in Venice:
Campanile di San Marco, Venice, Day to Night 2016
There are a lot more Day to Night images on Stephen’s site, and he talks about the process of creating them in his TED Talk.

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I usually put “related posts” at the bottom of a post but there aren’t really any posts related to photography, so here are three random Wait But Why posts:

19 Things I Learned in Nigeria

Why Bugs Ruin Everything

Creepy Kids in Creepy Vintage Ads

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