As hikers, mountain bikers and backcountry campers, we've long understood that Mother Nature reserves her most spectacular treasures for those who are willing to work for them. But this time-lapse video, by Austrian photographer Christoph Malin, demonstrates that point in a more visceral way than any words can. Shot on the remote volcanic island of La Palma—part of the Canary Islands, off of Africa's west coast—over the course of a year and a half, the video required countless expeditions to remote locales to gather all of the footage.
Malin used to hike and guide bike trips on the island (called "Europe's Hawaii" by some), and, over the years, created a mental catalogue of stunning, off-the-beaten-track views. In order to capture those scenes and share them with the world, he "hiked up the many spots, stayed up all night on stormy volcano ridges, slept like [the] dead on the beach next morning,” according to his Vimeo page. He worked through the bad weather and equipment malfunctions that all outdoor photographers must, then, despite being "not the office guy," parked himself in front of a computer for what must've felt like an eternity, processing more than 1 terabyte of raw data into the gorgeous, transcendent product above. Thanks to all that work, you can witness the sun plunking down into the Atlantic, the Milky Way arcing slowly across the sky and clouds lapping onto rocky peaks like waves onto the shore.
"Inhale the fresh air," Malin writes, "smell the scent of the pine forests. Hear nothing but the wind in the trees. See the deep blue sky above black volcano sands. Hike epic volcanic trails far above the Atlantic Ocean. Feel the elements. Be yourself." After watching this time-lapse, I feel like I've already done it all.
To see more of his work, visit christophmalin.com.