2020 Alpine view timelapse videos

Created 24.iii.20

I had hoped to get videos when J & I were up here in late January but when I dug the ‘phone I had used for the videos it was unequivocally dead: the spider’s web of cracks in the glass on the back had spread and clearly taken out vital internals. I guess the temperature changes in storage here had been enough to cause that. It was an old (and second hand, eBay purchased) Xperia and I guess I really couldn’t complain that it had finally died. Though I still don’t understand why you use opaque glass for the back of a ‘phone!)

So nothing from that week and now (24.iii.20) I’m back up here but in proper French social distancing. I had bought another second hand ‘phone on my last day in the UK before coming over to work in Toulouse but belatedly discovered that the camera lens on that ‘phone had been hopelessly scratched. To add insult to injury, the battery has puffed up and is dead too so it’s not even a backup ‘phone for normal ‘phoning any more. I assume the battery didn’t like the altitude (surely not that).

Anyway, finally I have opted to put my “UK ‘phone” to timelapse duties during the day and only make UK ‘phone calls after dark so we’re back in business. Oops, just noticed that I finished my 2019 timelapse diary with this:

And that’s over and out for now. The old ‘phone seems to have sensed that, you can see the image move at the start of the day and it’s now very bent out of shape. It’s had a severely broken glass back for ages (why a glass back for heaven’s sake?) but I think it may finally be dying. We’ll see and perhaps there’ll be a few more days if we get back here to ski in January and March … if we’re lucky.

I’m putting an annotated framegrab here to name some landmarks. Click on the image to expand it.

Annotated view of the timelapse videos
Annotated view of the timelapse videos

23rd of March 2020. Finally got going again but in two pieces: battery on ‘phone wasn’t enough for the day. The first is just 38 seconds and the middle 25 is, to be honest, dull. The start got the last of the cloud down in the valley burning away and the end has some nice cumulus sneaking in! The second has some lovely colours as the sun sets toward the end and generally a lot of cumulus swirling around.

25th of March 2020. I set the alarm a bit earlier and was rewarded by a lovely sunrise. Then there’s a stretch where Residence Hauts Bois (the brown ski apartment block straight ahead) puffs away as if it’s auditioning for a part in Thomas the Tank Engine and, not to be outdown, Mont Blanc starts to make steady white smoke in the distance. Gradually other peaks start to smoke (no tar, no nicotine) and then the clouds build from the north with lovely tinges of pink until the snow comes. Sadly, I’d miscalculated the settings so it cuts out late afternoon. Must think harder for tomorrow!

26th of March 2020. Resolution isn’t great on this ‘phone camera and the colour balance lurches. It’s hard to say how inaccurate that is as the light certainly change dramatically and of course our eyes (brain) filters out most of that. Another lovely sunrise with clouds simmering over the peaks and ridges in the distance and then an Easterly seems to take over and blow clouds shapes off the top of Mont Bland and other peaks and the light and colour come and go. Still haven’t got the duration setting right: odd. Must try harder!

28th of March 2020. (27th failed because ‘phone stopped for no obvious reason after about four frames!) Better today: Do wish this were a better ‘phone camera. Lovely pink colours and glorious swirling and bubbling cumulus sweeping towards us from the North through the day with Mont Blanc popping in and out of view.

29th of March 2020. The poor camera and, I think, compressing the video to make it run more easily on low bandwidth connections makes for some amusing artefacts as bands in the darkness or uniform areas, particularly towards the end of this video, but there were beautiful clouds coming and going through the day. And snow!

30th of March 2020. Damn, forgot to delete yesterday’s video off the old ‘phone so it ran out of memory late afternoon. Still it gives a clear picture: welcome to life in the clouds! What you can’t tell from the video is that in the late morning and early afternoon the sun behind the white out was so strong that I had to draw the curtains about 75% to be able to work on the computer without squinting against the light.

31st of March 2020. Stunningly bright day. Continuing issue with ‘phone made for three separate videos. I love this, the first for the rolling glory of the cloud filling the valley below; then the second, from around 11.00 a.m. and the clouds in the valley part in a way I haven’t seen before; and finally the third, from about 15:10 and through to sunset. Lovely day! I did also stitch the three together so you can have all three!

1st of April 2020. It’s been an incredibly calm and sunny day up here. The video doesn’t do justice to the subtle but glorious colours of the sunrise or dusk (and it’s cut off the end of the sunset) but it catches the bright sun, blue sky, small clouds flickering around across the valley (after about 1’20”) and some larger but still light clouds later.

2nd of April 2020. Lovely sunrise and then nice but not dramatic cumulus bubbling around until things get cut off in mid afternoon because I forgot to delete yesterday’s so the ‘phone ran out of storage! Sorry all. Lovely sunset here but no video of it. Damn.

3rd of April 2020. Missed the early daybreak as I didn’t realise that the ‘phone had stopped filming almost immediately I’d started it! Still, lovely early morning, gentle day and nice sunset.

4th of April 2020. A single cloud moves over from NW to SEfro around 1’50”. What creates such a single cloud (it’s not quite single)? Too big to be a contrail (and how few there are of them now). Otherwise just the slow passage of the sun, but nice colours at sunrise and sunset.

5th of April 2020. I think there isn’t a single cloud, nor a single contrail, visible all day. I think that’s a record. Still the march of the sun with the searchlight like beams rolling across the slopes opposite in the morning and the equally steady march of the shadows as night comes on is still restful to watch.

I’m repeating the annotated framegrab here because I’m hoping that the number of videos will start to climb swiftly again now.

Annotated view of the timelapse videos
Annotated view of the timelapse videos