Time-Lapse Photography – Part 2

Although my initial investigations into time-lapse photography were done on film back in 2004, my interest has still been there in recent years, and even more so since I got my first digital camera in late 2006.

Although I have been looking to do something that involves a series of continuous and rapid shots, I found that you can buy intervalometers fairly cheaply on eBay and so bought one a few weeks ago. The intervalometer can be used to set the time until the first photo is taken, the interval between photos and the total number of photos taken. As such, it is suited to more traditional time-lapse photography where the camera is set up and left to take a series of photos over a length of time.

The first time-lapse video that I made with my camera was the view from our lounge window, looking across the river towards the ferry stop at Bulimba. I set the intervalmoter to take a photo every 10 seconds and to take 399 photos. This is the maximum specified number of photos that can be taken with it, although it can be set to run until the memory card is full. Using a the rate of 1 photo every 10 seconds meant that it photographed the view of the river for just over an hour.

Having taken the photos I used the free version of Animator DV+ to animate the 399 still photos. I set the photos to play back at a rate of 15 frames per second, giving about 26 seconds of footage.

The video looked like this:

I took another series of photos out of the front room window, looking upstream this time, although somehow I managed to mess it up and manage to include part of the window frame in the shot…

After having done the 26 second movie looking upstream, using the intervalometer set to 399 shots, I repeated the downstream time-lapse with the intervalometer set to run until the memory card was full. I used the same setting as before, with a photo being taken every 10 seconds. In addition to creating a longer movie I also wanted to assess the camera settings as the sky got darker. I used a film speed of 200 ISO, an aperture of f8 and a shutter speed of 1/160. At the time I started this time-lapse this was slightly over-exposing each shot; I hoped by doing this that I would get more shots as it became darker.

At about 30 seconds into the time-lapse movie it suddenly gets dark. This was as a result of a storm moving in. The photos get darker and darker until the light outside became too dark that the camera couldn’t focus (I had set it on auto focus as opposed to manual focus).

The storm started very soon after this. I set the camera up to try to record this, however in my haste I didn’t change the ISO speed, with it left at the 200 ISO I had been using earlier. Although I changed the camera from manual to aperture mode, so that the shutter speed could change as the light deteriorated to give a correct exposure, this meant that almost from when I started taking the photos the shutter speed started to increase up to 10 seconds. For reasons unknown the camera also froze soon into the movie, although this was rectified by turning it off and back on again. I didn’t get very far into taking shots when the rain became so bad that the wind was blowing it back into our front room and all over my camera.

A blink and you miss it 3 seconds of storm… (the last frame is after I’d shut the window…)

Looking forward to the wet season; hopefully they’ll be some interesting storms to capture.

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