Setting Our Sights On Chile

Setting Our Sights On Chile

Location: Innsbruck, Austria
Altitude: 574 m 
Coordinates: 47.2667° N, 11.3833° E


My name is Christoph Malin and I am based near Innsbruck, Austria. I have been at the frontline of the new art of time-lapse filming since 2010, specialising in low-light photography, and I am captivated by the beauty of the night sky. I regularly produce premium time-lapse content for international TV documentaries, and am a specialist on motion control and time-lapse processing. This is my first blog entry for ESO’s expedition into the Ultra High Definition Universe, as one of the four Photo Ambassadors who are embarking on a trip of a lifetime. Even though we won’t set out until March, this blog will begin here with a brief introduction to the expedition.

Our destination: the Atacama Desert — dry and high, with some of the world’s best conditions for astronomical observations.

Our aim: to record stunning Ultra HD and Fulldome images at each location — with our 4K camera as well as a multitude ofDigital SLR camera rigs.


The opportunity to use Ultra HD technology to capture the awe-inspiring landscapes that surround ESO’s observatories at La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor is very exciting. I hope we will inspire and captivate many viewers along the way. As a Photo Ambassador for ESO, I will be working alongside Yuri Beletsky, Babak Tafreshi and Herbert Zodet in northern Chile. ESO builds and operates its observatories in the southern hemisphere as here there are the best views of the Milky Way and the two Magellanic Clouds, which glitter overhead.

Using a variety of techniques — my favourite being time-lapse photography using motion controlled rigs — we will take advantage of the inky black Chilean sky and use our 4K camera to capture footage with an ultra high resolution that brings our images as close to real life as possible. The resolution of Ultra HD is four times greater than that of HD and it adds an extra depth and sharpness to our shots of the mesmerising landscapes that the southern hemisphere has to offer.

We will spend two weeks travelling between the three ESO sites,taking us high into the Andes. ALMA is based on the Chajnantor Plateau, at 5000 metres above sea level in the Chilean Andes, where we will work at night under a high and crystal-clear sky. La Silla is located 600 kilometres north of Santiago, at 2400 metres above sea level on the edge of the Atacama Desert, and the Very Large Telescope is located on Cerro Paranal, a 2600-metre-high peak south of Antofagasta. So the stars will shine bright, and we will be low on oxygen and sleep — all in the name of astrophotography.

I will sign off here, but for now, here is a video showcasing the sites that we will be visiting.

Until next time.

- Christoph