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Exploration is a distinctively human trait and something that the Foundation has incentivized through large monetary rewards, but it is also a deeply personal endeavor that affects and inspires everyone differently. Nonetheless, many entrants echoed similar refrains: to engage with other cultures, to learn something new, to experience beautiful parts of our planet. The submissions ranged in production value, and the judges selected four finalists: dude explorer Ryan Van Duzer, whose narration begins, “I explore because it makes me feel ALIVE!” (emphasis his) and continues to describe his journeys to Honduras and the Himalaya; underdog Samantha Gary, who produced a delightful stop-motion animation; Brit Alastair Humphreys, whose four-man row across the Atlantic Ocean captures the plodding monotony and accents of excitement that characterize many endurance pursuits; and Joe Capra, a time-lapse photography guru.
For Capra, however, it was a sleepless dream, as the midnight sun allowed him to shoot most of his 38,000 images between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. A typical scene took about a half hour, and the resulting 300 to 900 images would be edited and compressed into a few-seconds clip. Some shots use a stationary vantage point, but Capra prefers “motion control,” which pans or tracks across a landscape in a more natural, engaging way.