Nature’s transformations make fun time-lapse videos. This fall, I began two such video projects that I’m now sharing. The first turned autumn’s colors into a hyperlapse video that moves along Itasca State Park’s scenic Wilderness Drive. My 33 minute trip below is condensed to 2 minutes of painted forest rushing by.

The second project may not appeal to everyone—a 3 minute time-lapse video about “the circle of life.” Here, scavengers’ beaks and teeth transform a deer carcass into bare bones. The backstory is, sadly, a car hit a young buck near where I was staying (thankfully, the driver wasn’t injured).

Nobody wanted to salvage the deer’s meat. So, I decided to have a new experience. I asked the state patrol trooper managing the accident to issue me a permit to take the deer (without a permit, it’s illegal to harvest a deer outside of hunting season). With an ATV, I then dragged the buck to a quiet glade in our family’s woods. There, scavengers could peacefully eat, safe from the highway’s dangers.

I’d never butchered a deer, so I watched several online videos. Then, with a sharp knife, I removed salvageable venison. To spoil my friend’s dog, Mia, I also saved the buck’s antlers as chew toys (plus, I cooked venison scraps to make dog treats).

When finished, I set up a trail camera to spy on the remaining carcass. The video’s 6,600+ photos show how a deer’s death gives life to many, many animals. Magpies. Blue Jays. Crows. Ravens. Seven Bald Eagles (four adults, three juveniles). Larger visitors included a coyote, gray fox, and family of four bears.

Unseen benefactors were countless smaller birds and insects, Mia (gnawing on antlers and gobbling her treats), as well as people (myself and four families I shared the venison with). After 72 hours, only a partial skeleton remained (dragged fifty yards away). A week later, I couldn’t even find a hair. A saying sums up the following video well, “Nothing goes to waste in nature.”

Truly, nothing is wasted in nature—things just transform. Falling leaves transform into soil. A dead animal transforms by feeding other animals. Far stranger, supernovas long ago created elements that transformed into essential parts of our bodies. Wow. For me, nature’s transformations are a never-ending source of wonder. I hope these videos inspire that same wonder with you!