The early morning when the whole city is still sleeping and the sky is changing from black to pink to orange to blue is the best part of the day. For his short movie, Adrift, filmmaker Simon Christen spent two years getting up before the sun to capture a timelapse video of the fog rolling in over the San Francisco Bay.

It Took Two Years to Get This Fog-Filled San Francisco Timelapse Right

Besides having an immense amount of patience and a circadian rhythm that allowed him to wake up at 5am nearly every day the weather was nice for two years, how did Christen record this breathtaking timelapse? He shot on a Canon 7D and Canon 40D in the highest resolution possible and tried to grab as much footage as he could each day. Christen said depending on the exposure time, he probably took a photo every two to 10 seconds. That amount of time allowed him to take more footage, but still grab images that connected smoothly. Each segment of film you see was of course longer in its original form, but spans about two to four hours of actual footage.

It Took Two Years to Get This Fog-Filled San Francisco Timelapse Right

Other than that, most of Christen's mornings went a bit like this:

The weather conditions have to be just right for the fog to glide over the hills and under the bridge. I developed a system for trying to guess when to make the drive out to shoot, which involved checking the weather forecast, satellite images and webcams multiple times a day. For about 2 years, if the weather looked promising, I would set my alarm to 5am, recheck the webcams, and then set off on the 45-minute drive to the Marin Headlands.

Given the volatile weather in San Francisco, many mornings he'd find that the weather wasn't working for him—either the fog was too high or too low or it was already gone, and the day was a bust. But he kept at it for two years, and created something incredibly beautiful to watch. [Vimeo via Fstoppers]