In April 2011, I had the pleasure of visiting Spain’s highest mountain, El Teide (3,718 meters, 12,198 feet), one of the best places in the world to photograph the stars, and the location of one of the best observatories in the world, Teide Observatory.
The goal was to capture the beautiful Milky Way galaxy along with El Teide, one of the most amazing mountains I know. I have to say this was one of the most exhausting trips I have done—a lot of hiking at high altitudes and probably less than 10 hours of sleep in total for the whole week. Having been here nearly a dozen times previously, I had a long list of must-see locations I wanted to capture for this movie, but I am still not 100 percent used to carrying around so much gear required for timelapse movies.
A large sandstorm hit the Sahara Desert on April 9 and at 3 a.m. the sandstorm hit me, making it nearly impossible to see the sky with my own eyes. Interestingly enough, my camera was set for a five-hour sequence of the Milky Way during this time and I was sure my whole scene was ruined. To my surprise, my camera had managed to capture the sandstorm backlit by Grand Canary Island, making it look like golden clouds. The Milky Way was shining through the clouds, making the stars sparkle. So if you ever wondered how the Milky Way would look through a Sahara sandstorm, look at 00.32.
Music by my friend Ludovico Einaudi, “Nuvole bianche” used with permission. Please support the artist here.