BY: JESSICA BEUKER
New Zealand is home to a multitude of what are known as glowworm caves. The glowworms hang from silk nests and radiate soft illumination, the effect making the caves look like a blanket of twinkling stars.
Recently, photographer Jordan Poste decided to capture the unique twinkle of the bugs with a 60-hour time-lapse video. The result is otherworldly.
Glowworms are the larval form of a gnat that is commonly found in large numbers in natural caves and mines throughout New Zealand, according to Wired. Adults lay eggs in the damp walls and ceilings, and later, the eggs hatch to spin silk nests and hanging threads. The larvae emit a glow to lure prey into their threads, bugs such as mayflies and moths.
The phenomenon has been photographed many times, but Poste wanted to shoot a video that makes viewers feel as if they were taking a walk through the cave.
So starting last summer, Poste began shooting at three different locations in New Zealand over a period of three months. He worked mostly at night so that tourists wouldn’t walk through his shots. He hiked up 650 feet in each cave before he began setting up his gear.
In order to create the illusion of walking through a cave, Poste mounted his camera on an automated slider and programmed it to move the camera forward slowly. The camera shot every 35 seconds, and each sequence took two-and-a-half hours to shoot.
To ensure the shots were life-like as possible, Poste sat in complete darkness, surrounded by moving bugs and the sound of the shutter clicking while his camera worked. Poste kept an inflatable mattress nearby in case he needed to take a nap. After 60 hours of shooting, he took his 3,000 frames and edited them together to create the time lapse.
You can see a portion of the time lapse below, and it is absolutely breathtaking. “It’s similar to lying down outside under the stars and just looking at the sky and emptying your mind,” Poste says to Wired. “It’s extra special, though, because you realize they aren’t stars, but worms with glowing bums.”