15 time-lapse videos that capture national parks at their best

Milky Way over Yellowstone National Park.

Credit: Neal Herbert (NPS), flickr.

One way to get a quick sense of the grandeur and beauty of American national parks and other wildlands: “time-lapse” videos. Here are 15 great ones to get you started.

“Time-lapse” photography is the term used for shooting events at a much lower frame rate than will be used when the sequence is played back. By using this method, photographers can capture gradual or subtle changes--things we don’t typically notice while they’re happening--and produce a chronicle of the world’s hidden flow. This practice has been used to great effect to capture sunrises, sunsets, huge storms and even the secret lives of plants; all ‘common’ occurrences that become mesmerizing once we’re able to watch them at a pace that suits our sped-up brains.

Some of the best time-lapse films show the seasons and daily rhythms of national parks and other wildlands, from drifting fog to meteor showers to gently wind-blown branches suddenly brought into vital focus.

Take a look at the list we’ve compiled below…and be inspired to get out into nature.

Yosemite National Park (California)

via Project Yosemite

Arches and Canyonlands National Parks (Utah)

via Roadtrippers.com

Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming/Montana/Idaho)

via Christopher Cauble

Zion National Park (Utah)

via Matt Bowen

Joshua Tree National Park (California)

via Gavin Heffernan

Arches National Park (Utah)

via sjhenry

Big Bend National Park (Texas)

via Sundance Kid

Acadia National Park (Maine)

via John Fouse

Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

via mehthewhatever

Redwood National Park (California)

via Roman Khomlyak

Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Tennessee)

via milapse

Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

via GrandTetonFdn

Denali National Park (Alaska)

via lanesapples

Badlands National Park (South Dakota)

via Doug Michaels

Olympic National Park (Washington)

via Glenn Wadsworth