In 2012, Colin Delehanty and Sheldon Neill ventured into Yosemite National Park to capture photos and time-lapse videos of some of its most beautiful spots. We asked Colin to describe the motivation behind their collaboration, Project Yosemite, as well as some of the defining moments of their 200+ mile journey through the park.
Describe Project Yosemite.
Project Yosemite is a time-lapse video project set in Yosemite National Park, shot by myself and Sheldon Neill.
I did a lot of climbing from 2007 – 2011, spending most of my time in Yosemite. The more familiar I became with the park, the more I began to explore off the beaten path. Although Yosemite is well-known, there are lots of spots that are more isolated and, therefore, less accessed by the average visitor. I thought it would be cool to discover and expose those locations. Fortunately, Sheldon was on board with the idea, and we created Project Yosemite together in 2012.
How did you and Sheldon Neill decide to work together?
Sheldon and I met on Vimeo; I had initially contacted him because I wanted to learn more about the video equipment he uses. I let him know that I was trying to do more with time-lapse and he graciously offered to help me learn how to work with it.
Sheldon mentioned that he had permits to Half-Dome, a granite dome at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley, and offered one to me. Those permits are pretty hard to come by! We decided to head to the summit together to shoot. At that point, we hadn’t even talked about collaborating on a project, but we began to realize that we had similar interests and goals, and decided that our work would be more fun, and perhaps more successful, if we pursued a collaboration.
You spent a total of 45 days in the park, traversing over 200 miles. Can you describe your journey? What were some of the highs and the lows?
We spent about 45 days in the park over the course of 10 months. Most trips were 3-4 days long; our equipment took up a ton of space in our backpacks so it was hard to plan for longer excursions. We started the project in late winter/early spring; wanting to capture the park across all seasons, so decided to work until the start of the very next winter.
The highs included discovering and spending time in new landscapes, then returning to shoot footage. Getting to a place and seeing it in the best light was also incredibly rewarding; we would sometimes spend a half day, or even a full day, in one spot, waiting for the perfect light – the perfect moment. Sunrises and sunsets were constantly breathtaking; each one was unique and thus exciting every time.
The lows definitely include the editing process. After having enjoyed and explored the outdoors for so long, it was hard to sit by the computer to make the film. It took about 4 months to complete; we had to edit over 200 time lapse videos.
What do you hope the viewers will feel/learn from the video?
We hope that the video will incite people’s curiosity about photography, backpacking and outdoor exploration. We certainly also hope that viewers will want to go out and see the places we captured for themselves.
We do think it would be really cool to see other people in different parts of the world create similar projects – sort of like a chain reaction of time-lapse videos featuring beautiful places in beautiful light from all over the globe.
What are your absolute must-see spots within the park?
My favorite place is Matthes Crest in the Cathedral range, which can be accessed from the popular Cathedral Lakes trailhead. Start the climb from the south end then head up onto the crest, which extends at both sides. The path is not open year-round, but it’s worth your while to plan your visit around its accessibility.
Additional breathtaking spots within the Cathedral Range but somewhat off the beaten-path include Cathedral Lakes and Cathedral Peak. More easily-accessed places to visit include Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls, Yosemite Falls (which is right off the side of the road), and Glacier Point.
Where can our community access more information about your project?
All information can be found on our website: http://www.projectyose.com/. You can read about other places to visit in the park, check out the gear that we used, and find a selection of prints that are available for purchase. That’s where we’ll share updates about future projects, as well.
Want to learn more about this U.S. National Park? Check out our comprehensive guide to Yosemite.