Surreal Time-Lapse Captures 5 Hours of Planes Landing in 30 Seconds

Surreal Time-Lapse Captures 5 Hours of Planes Landing in 30 Seconds

While hoards of people took up arms in their local Walmart as part of last week’s annual Black Friday ritual, photography and film professor Cy Kuckenbaker spent five hours filming planes land at San Diego International Airport. The result is this surreal 30 second time-lapse. If you have a fear of flying you might want to hold off on this one; otherwise, enjoy.

In an interview with PetaPixel, Kuckenbaker outlines why he made the film:

I moved to a new neighborhood in San Diego a little over a year ago that put me close to the San Diego Int. Airport. Since then I have become increasingly interested in the rhythms of the airport and the airplanes themselves. San Diego has an unusual flight path that brings the planes in low right over the center of the city and they have to drop rapidly behind a hill to make the runway. When I saw a composite still image on PetaPixel of every airplane that took off in a day from a European airport I started to wonder if I could do something similar with video.

What still image inspired the video? A work called Flughafen by South Korean artist Ho-Yeol Ryu, which has had a few viral cycles on the Internet since it was unveiled in 2009.

flughafen - Ho-Yeol Ryu, 2005

Find out more about the video, including what equipment and techniques Kuckenbaker used to shoot it, in this great PetaPixel feature by Michael Zhang. You can also check out more work by Cy Kuckenbaker on

JP Bervoets
JP is a communication specialist working in the not-for-profit sector. He has lived and worked in Canada, the Netherlands, and South Africa, and is regularly on the road. His interests include graphic design, blogging, cycling, playing guitar, and all things food and drink. He currently resides in Toronto, Canada.


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