Photographing an Experience: The Time-Lapse Movie
Yesterday I met Jim, a retired rancher who now lives in a nearby community. As we talked he predicted a large storm would arrive late tonight or early tomorrow. “I can smell it in the air and feel it on my skin” he said. Although it was a hot, windless and clear day, as its been every day this week, I’ve learned in my travels to trust people like him who are wise in the ways of the land.
This morning, as I leave the cabin at 5:15 AM I quickly learn the accuracy of Jim’s prediction. The wind was blowing so hard it was difficult to open the truck door and the air was suddenly 20 degrees cooler. Even the short 8 mile drive to Geologic Overlook for sunrise required a tight grip on the steering wheel and weather radio said the wind was 60-70 mph. At the overlook, the morning sky suddenly turned dramatic shades of red, orange and black and it’s almost impossible to keep the camera steady. I finally attach a 36 pound weight to the tripod and camera to hold it still to capture just one sunrise photo.
By mid-morning, the clouds were moving rapidly through the sky in mesmerizing formations that were constantly shrinking and expanding. I decided to grab the camera gear and record this event for the blog. Although a photograph would capture a portion of the sky and its clouds, it would show only a brief instant in time. The beauty of this morning’s sky however, the event I’d like to share, is how it is constantly moving and changing shape.
Capturing an event that occurs “over” time calls for time-lapse photography. To better understand what it is and how it can help convey an experience click on the image below (Note: there may be a 10-15 second delay before it starts-please be patient).
A Time-Lapse Created From 600 Photographs
(Run time: 30 seconds)
(Click the Image to Watch)
How This Movie Was Made: This time-lapse movie was created from 630 photos taken 2 seconds apart over 21-minutes. The photos were then converted into a movie using Apple Quicktime which displays them in movie-like fashion, one after the other at 30 images per second. Unlike a video that’s viewed in real-time, time-lapse compresses a long event into a short viewing experience. During my time here, I’ll be creating several of these time-lapse movies.
INTERESTED IN CREATING YOUR OWN TIME-LAPSE? In prior years I’ve relied on standard digital cameras and an “intervalometer” to create time-lapse movies. (Click here to read more about that technique.) This year however, I’ve been using a small and relatively inexpensive compact camera called the GoPro HERO 2 (Motorsports Edition) to accomplish the same thing. The GoPro is a small hand-holdable digital camera that can capture regular digital photographs as well as HQ quality video and audio. It also features a “time-lapse” mode for capturing photos automatically at a specific interval, such as every 2 seconds, for creating time-lapse movies. Click here to learn more about the GoPro HERO2 on Amazon.