San Francisco to Paris in 2 Minutes

Photographer captures the northern lights in quest to capture his flight.

ByABC News
April 8, 2011, 2:19 PM

April 8, 2011— -- Nate Bolt, a photographer, decided to make use of his long flight from San Francisco to Paris by setting up his camera and capturing the entire flight in a two-minute video.

"I thought it would be interesting to do a time lapse through a whole flight," he said. "I kind of thought I would give it a shot and see what happened."

Bolt checked with his carrier, Air France, which allowed him to bring his camera equipment onboard.

When Bolt boarded his flight, he was surprised to find his seat row empty when he sat down. He double checked with the flight attendant once he boarded.

"I brought the stewardess over, and I kind of asked in my superlimited French if it would be OK," he said. "She said it would be OK. And then I just started shooting."

He took about 2,400 still photographs throughout the overnight flight. He captured the takeoff, the view of the ground from above, and, amazingly, the northern lights.

"I had no idea the northern lights were going to occur," he said. "I was kind of half-asleep holding the time lapse controller in my hand ... just looked up to check the exposure, and it was kind of one of those things where I had no idea what was wrong at first." In time lapse photography, images are compressed and played back much faster than the speed at which they were recorded.

Bolt thought there might be a problem with his equipment.

"I thought there was film stuck on the lens, or it was some light refracting down and once I scrolled back a few and I realized what it was I was excited. I was stoked."Bolt has plans for another time lapse -- this time on his way to a photography workshop in Martha, Texas.