Nicholas Buer’s film, Acients, follows the ancient cycle of sunset, to night, to sunrise. A continuous loop of perpetual movement that has been unbroken since the dawn of time, and the only true constant in our lives.
Nicholas shot this film over 12 days around the San Pedro de Atacama region of Northern Chile. San Pedro is an oasis town in the Atacama Desert and sits at an altitude of 2600m. The town is a great base to explore the fascinating landscapes that surround it, and everything just goes up and up.
The Atacama is well-known for what are arguably the cleanest, darkest skies on Earth. The dry air adds an extra transparency and this, coupled with the altitude, creates a night sky like no other. Nicholas visited at a time when Venus was situated quite close to the center of the Milky Way; an astronomical event that only takes place every 8 years. Nicholas also timed his visit with the Autumn equinox, which is a good time of year to capture Zodiacal light; the celestial phenomenon caused by sunlight scattering interplanetary space dust in the Zodiacal cloud. It stretches across the ecliptic and glows for a short while after sunset, similar to a UFO beam, and Nicholas was lucky enough to witness this every night he stepped out into the dark.
I found the Atacama Desert to be a very harsh landscape; the dry air makes your skin crack and split, the winds pummel you with every gust and the altitude slows you down and affects your ability to hike with heavy equipment. By the end of this trip, me, my kit, and my car had taken a real battering but it was all worth it. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.