Nature Photographer multitasking: 3 cameras, all working for one photog

Discussion in 'Nature' started by faithblinded, Jun 1, 2016.

  1. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    For a long time, I have been building up my skillset, in order to make the most of a day spent in the bush. To me, that means shooting landscape from the blue hour, until the start of the golden hour, then switching to wildlife as soon as the light is adequate. I also want to shoot time lapse video of the sunrise/sunset, while I'm hiking around looking for other stuff to shoot. It's been a little while since I did any time lapse, so I went out this morning to put myself to the test, and see if I could still flex those muscles.

    I left the house about an hour and a half before sunrise, and arrived on location in time to catch the latter half of the blue hour, and the sunrise itself. I set up two cameras on one tripod, and connected them to external battery packs, using my printed dummy batteries. I pointed them at the coming sunrise, and let them rip, at a 30 second interval(I should have went shorter). I walked around shooting landscape, then wildlife, while the two cameras on my tripod worked diligently at time lapse. Here is the Sunrise shot I took while the cameras were busy ticking away:
    It was a good one! I'm glad I went out. Once the sun finally poked it's head out I managed to start chasing some birds and mammals, as well as a little more landscape. Here are some local wildflowers bathed in golden sunlight, shot with the 300/4:
    All the while, as I hiked around(I did 4 miles according to my phone), the cameras were still going to town on the time lapse:
    The last thing I shot before packing up was this adoreable baby bunny, backlit by the morning sun. He was hopping around on the trail, and didn't see my approach. I managed to get down on my belly and inch closer and closer, to get the shot I wanted. I watched it graze for fifteen minutes before rising from the dewwy grass. It was too cute:
    After that, I decided I had at least a couple keepers for the day, and I should wrap it up. I packed my cameras back into the pack, and hiked back to my Jeep. Many hours later, I am done editing the time lapse. I am happy to report my skills, while rusty, are still intact. It can only get better from here:
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  2. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Looks like a wonderful and productive day. That bunny is probably my favorite photo of yours. Who said m4/3 has to much DoF to isolate a subject?
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  3. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    I know right? And... GASP!'s at f4!!!
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  4. Hypilein

    Hypilein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 18, 2015
    Love the bunny shot too. Nice time lapse as well.
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  5. narkotix

    narkotix Mu-43 Regular

    May 31, 2015
    Timelapse is awesome but I love the bunny so much! Fantastic effort.
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  6. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    The time lapse is pretty good. There's a bit too much movement with regard to the Ken Burns effect IMO, but that's just my opinion. For the time-lapse, is it the SOOC video file, or did you shoot & edit raw files and compile them in to the final file? The reason I ask is because every time I've made a time-lapse (which hasn't been many mind you), I typically will use the RAW images, edit a file and apply that edit to all of the images, resulting in a much better looking time lapse in terms of noise, detail, color, etc.

    Further questions about the time lapse, did you have any concerns about leaving your camera gear? Was it always in-sight, or did you end up wandering far away from it? And what are you using for your rail, camera clamps, etc.? I'm curious because I'm looking to build a similar type rig.

    Thanks for sharing!
  7. AG_Alex2097

    AG_Alex2097 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 18, 2015
    Alex S.
    Are you not afraid someone runs off with your gear when you leave it unattended? :eek:
    Nice shots! :)
  8. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    That's just me trying to distract you from the fact that I have no camera rail or real movement in my time lapse. It's just a post processing trick. I can re-render it with no camera movement or zooming easily. This was a shorter than usual time lapse for me, so the motion went maybe a bit faster than it needed to, because of that.

    I shoot RAW. This was edited with a combination of Lightroom, and LR timelapse. The stack of tifs generated by those programs go into Adobe Premiere for final editing and rendering as video.

    I wouldn't do this just anywhere. Also, I wouldn't set up where someone could quickly grab my gear and hop into a vehicle. This was a sunrise set up, at an area I'm familiar with, in my local National Park. I was the only person there the entire time I was shooting. I didn't stay in eyesight of my rig, but I didn't stray too far. I made sure to get a good look at it every 15-20 minutes, and was watching for people. No problems there.

    I just did an expedition this evening to shoot a sunset, and I left my rig unattended for much longer, since I was in a non-trailed section of the park, about which very few people know. That gave me a little more comfort. I still used the few spots I know where I could get a look, to see my gear was still there. It does make me nervous, I'm not crazy. But I can minimize my risk, and if someone gets my gear where I was, I could probably have had cops at their car before they finished hiking back to it. Knowing the area helps. There is only one way in that would have not alerted me to another person's presence, and I know exactly where they need to park to use that entrance. It's almost 2 miles of hiking on RR tracks to use that way in. I felt pretty comfortable with that, and was always within sight of that trail in to my area, or a few minutes from being in sight of it. Eventually I'm going to start going out with a bivvy sack, and just taking a snooze beneath my rig, while it snaps away.

    The rail I use to fit two cams on one head is a Desmond brand knockoff of a RRS rail. It's super sturdy, way more so than the extra long arca plates and other similar cheap options. The clamps I use are dual subtend clamps by Desmond. All are available on Amazon. : Desmond 40cm Camera 16" Bar DRB-40 Double Dovetail Rail Arca RRS Compatible : Camera & Photo : Desmond DBC-50 50mm Dual Double Subtend Clamp Arca Compatible 1/4" / 3/8" : Camera & Photo

    Hope that helps. I'll post another time lapse here in the thread when I finish editing.
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  9. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    I went out last night with 3 cameras, and hiked to my favorite location to shoot the sunset. It's just under 1.5 miles through the woods, to get there. I set up my time lapse cameras and let them do their thing, at 15 second intervals. I was out 2.5 hrs before sunset, so I had time to screw around.
    Here's my cams on location. One with the UWA is pointed at the sun, and the reflection on the pond. The other is pointed at the bank of trees opposite the sun, to capture the light as it washes them in color.
    So that was that. I was now free to shoot all the birds and critters I could find. Wouldn't you know I had poor luck with every cool bird I saw. I've spent alot of time on dragons lately, so I was ignoring them. The golden hour began, and I still had no real hits with wildlife. I got some nice landscape, but I was a little annoyed that I'd had no encounters. I came to a flooded section of the path that had been dry just days ago, and saw a muskrat swimming away from me. I dropped to my belly, and watched it munch a fresh shoot, then grab another to take back into the reeds. I got this shot as it returned my way to shoot through the hole into the reeds.
    So that had me feeling fulfilled on the wildlife front. Common they may be, but that is 100x better than any previous muskrat image I have taken.

    I returned to the cameras as the golden hour was ending. I managed this 4 or 5 shot panorama with my em1 and 17mm. It was a piece of sky neither time lapse camera was covering, of course.
    The moon was a lovely crescent, so I grabbed a nice shot with the 300mm, as the blue hour began:

    The blue hour was on me, and the sky was looking like I had no chance of seeing stars, so I stopped the time lapses. I packed it all up, and started the hike back to the Jeep, with the blue light fading, and the temperature dropping. Mist was beginning to rise off the pond in the areas that lost sunlight first. As I neared the area where I shot the muskrat, I noticed my first firefly of the season light up. I was grinning like an idiot. I began the walk through the 75ft long flooded section of path. Near the end, I started seeing more fireflies in the deeper forest ahead. The clouds were taking on some great last reflected bits of color as the blue hour finally ended. I snapped this shot where the marsh and forest meet, before I was enveloped by the trees completely. 10 second exposure, you can see a couple fireflies getting warmed up.
    I continued my hike into the woods, and was embraced by the dark. Amongst the trunks all around the path, mist was gathering. Fireflies all at once decided to begin flying and doing flashing displays all around me. I decided some long exposures were in order. These are the best 2:
    1 minute

    40 sec. you can see alot of flashers in this one

    I purposely pushed a little far on those to go for a slightly surreal look. I intend to go back maybe this evening, and spend some time doing live composite with the fireflies.

    And finally, I finished my hike in the now full darkness. Fortunately I know this hike well, and the path is clear, if often crossed by logs and streams. I came home and began editing straight away. Now I can show you the result of the time lapse. I opted to use only one viewpoint. The other may see the light of day eventually, but it's not adding anything to this already great sunset, so I left it out.
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