Morten Rustad is back with his most ambitious film to date – one whole year of Norwegian nature condensed to seven minutes.
“My head’s kinda worn out.”
The fact that Morten Rustad is feeling tired right now is understandable. After all, he’s just completed work on a seven minute film that has required one year of planning, another year of shooting and, finally, four months of intensive editing to become a reality. And it’s the last bit that has taken its toll.
“I’ve tried to go out into the woods in the morning, just to clear my head, but it feels great to be done now.”
With “Seasons of Norway”, Rustad’s intention is to showcase the whole country throughout the various seasons. Here, grand imagery such as spellbinding northern lights and mighty fjords goes hand in hand with apple trees in bloom and snow melting away as it shakes hands with spring.
Rustad first spoke to Visit Norway last year, detailing his time-lapse technique of compiling a large number of still photographs into moving images. He has received international attention for a number of beautiful time-lapse videos featuring Norwegian nature, such as this one:
And this one:
His new film is made along the same lines, but is more ambitious than anything he’s previously attempted. Throughout an entire year, Rustad travelled through the majority of Norwegian counties, from Telemark, to the south, and to Finnmark in the far north. His best memory is when he spent a couple of windless days in nearly 30 degrees celsius, all alone by lake Lovatnet in Sogn & Fjordane county. Here, he was able to read a book in his hammock or take a dip in the water whilst his camera automation clicked away.
“This is perhaps the most beautiful lake in Norway, known for its blue-green glacier water. Add excellent weather to that, and it’s hard to beat. This was at the end of May, so there weren’t any other people there either. I found a secret little spot a ways down from the road, where I had a small forest and a small beach all to myself, sleeping in my hammock.”
En video publisert av Morten Rustad (@morten.rustad)
The film was released online this week, so far only reaching around 6,000 views on YouTube. It has some way to go if it is to beat Rustad’s greatest success to date – “Norway – A Time-Lapse Adventure” – which is now nearing 3.8 million views.
“This film is probably not as broad as my previous effort, seeing as it is a bit longer and also demands a bit more from the viewer. My goal is not that as many people will watch it, but that the people who do will have a better experience.”
With more than a thousand thumbs up and 232 overwhelmingly positive comments by people from all over the world, he seems to have succeeded at that. And the film should have a somewhat long life – it happens to be produced in the 8K format. Those who have an 8K capable screen so far are few and far behind – it is a resolution 16 times greater than the HD format that still dominates most living-room televisions.
“But 8K screens will be coming to market soon, and when they do, it’s nice to have some material out there.”
The colossal resolution is some of the reason for the editing process, where every picture is painstakingly compiled on two high powered computers, got to be so tiring.
“It is especially time consuming when you’re working frame by frame and it takes two seconds for the image to finish loading.”
As in his previous films, he has collaborated with composer Jogeir Daae Mæland on both the music and the sound, something that is explored in-depth in this glimpse behind the scenes.
Right now, Rustad is unsure what his next project is going to be. He might be turning his gaze abroad. However:
“There are always new places to see in Norway as well.”
The glaciers, mountains and waterfalls are all about raw, sublime power. On the other hand, natural wonders such as the northern lights, the fjords and quiet mountain plateaus highlight Norway’s serene qualities.
According to ancient legend, the name Norway comes from the old norse word Norðrvegr, which means “the way north”, a name given to this long and craggy coast because it was largely ice-free in the wintertime.
To the naked eye, nature moves slowly. Time-lapse photographer Morten Rustad is breathing life into what would otherwise seem static.
After ten years of northern light photography, Marius Birkeland finally caught the movement of the colours without time-lapse.