It took over two years for filmmakers Colin Delehanty and Sheldon Neill to create Yosemite HD II, the the breathtaking followup to their 2011 tribute to Yosemite National Park. It was worth the wait. Full screen, HD, headphones if you've got 'em. You know the drill.
It's hard to oversell the beauty of Yosemite. Harder, still, to capture the totality of its grandeur on camera – but Yosemite HD comes awfully close. Released in January 2012 by Delehanty and Neill, the 4-minute short was not only one of the most stunning depictions of the park we'd ever seen, but one of the more captivating time-lapses we'd ever laid eyes on, full stop. A little less than a year ago, the pair teased us with a one-minute preview of their followup project, Yosemite HD II. Now, Delehanty and Neill have released the project in full. It's the culmination of over two years' work, and the results are impressive, to say the least.
"We spent way more time on this video," Delehanty tells io9. "It took 10 months to capture all the footage. In that time we were in Yosemite a combined total of 45 days." He continues:
Following our first video we made connections with a lot of great people in Yosemite. We learned a lot about the park through them; so much that we were almost embarrassed that we had left out so much of the park in our first video. Places like Vogelsang and the Cathedral Range are really special places to people here so we set out to discover them ourselves.
Yosemite's backcountry features more prominently in this video – those reaches of the park inaccessible to anyone unwilling or unable to hike a day or more to reach their destination.
"Sometimes we'd hike 20 miles and get an amazing sunset and everything would go as planned and sometimes it wouldn't," Delehanty told us last year when he and Neill were in the early stages of editing the project. "We rolled the dice on each trip hoping that we'd get the opportunity to capture something beautiful. We had to work a lot harder for these shots too since we'd normally arrive at our destination with barely enough time to setup and capture that perfect light."
Delehanty tells io9 the sequel features many of the same techniques as Yosemite HD, but he and Neill tried a few new things, using high-speed camera's like the Sony FS700 and RED EPIC to capture shots of waterfalls and winter weather. During a super moon the pair captured a time-lapse by mounting their camera to the roof of a car and coasting along while the camera snapped photos once per second. "Since we had so much moonlight and shot at a 1.2 aperture we were able to get some really amazing drivelapse (where you shoot time-lapse from your car) shots of El Capitan and Yosemite Falls with the stars above," says Delehanty.
"Before Yosemite HD II we hadn't done much backpacking or climbing in Yosemite's high country. With each project I want to try something new and never settle on one idea," Delehanty tells us. "In this last video we wanted to see how far we could go and seriously push our limits. Its amazing what you're capable of doing when you're inspired by a place like Yosemite. Now the search continues and we're not sure where that next inspiring location will be."
Wherever that place may be, we look forward to seeing what Delehanty and Neill turn out.
For more, visit Project Yosemite.