Treat Yourself To These Stunning Time-Lapse Videos From New Zealand Geographic’s “Photographer of the Year” Contest

The best of the best, from one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

image via youtube screen capture // after dark - mark gee

There’s a reason filmmaker Peter Jackson chose New Zealand to stand in for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth in his Lord of the Rings, and Hobbit trilogies. Yes, Jackson’s having been born in the capital city of Wellington probably factored into things, but there’s no denying New Zealand gives just about anywhere else on Earth a run for their money when it comes to sheer natural beauty. The country’s diverse landscapes evoke a sense that is both deeply familiar, as well as ethereal and otherworldly.

It is that duality which the finalists in New Zealand Geographic’s “Photographer of the Year: 2015” time-lapse category manage to capture. By training their cameras on everything from a simple moonrise over Mt. Victoria to a celestial panorama high in the night skies, these photographers’ stunning videos show us more than just pretty scenes from nature. Rather, they offer us a glimpse at the wider world–A world which moves at its own pace, and makes our all-too-human concerns seem small by comparison.

Faced with this expansive, awe-inspiring image of the world, all we can really do, then, is watch (ideally in full-screen mode):

The full list of New Zealand Geographic’s Photographer of the Year: 2015 entries (both time lapse videos and static photographs) can be found on their site. There you can vote for your “people’s choice award” favorite, before the winners are announced in October.

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