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The Hidden Benefits of Shooting Time Lapse

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by faithblinded, Jun 25, 2016.

  1. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    Hey y'all. I've been shootin' a lot of time lapse lately, when I can get motivated enough(it's my heaviest field kit). One thing I've often thought about, but rarely taken advantage of, is how time lapse can benefit my stills. When shooting a pleasing scene for sunrise, sunset, or cloud movement, time lapse gives you your choice of stills to process from the set. Without actually being there to press the shutter button at the right time, you can have a shot from the absolute peak of color. It's as simple as watching your processed video, to get an idea of where the best frames lie. Here are some I just processed, from time lapse sequences I've shot over the past few years.
    This is an abandoned Coast Guard station at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, in Cleveland. Plans are under way to restore this amazing mid-century property.
    LRT_00256-X3.

    These god rays were great, but no one frame had enough of them to make me happy. I stacked 5 frames together in Photoshop, and used the 'lighten' blend mode, for the equivalent of a Live Composite shot.
    P6170673-2-1903x1070.

    The same day I shot the Coast Guard station, I shot the city, across the mouth of the Cuyahoga. This tug boat came along, guiding a large barge to Lake Erie.
    PC140277-2-X3.

    On this day, I was shooting a time lapse of the sun setting over the Ohio Turnpike, where it crosses over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and the Cuyahoga River. The clouds broke enough to let a sliver of light through, while this gorgeous cloudhead moved through in front.
    PA172031-X2.

    Here, I was shooting a time lapse of the sunrise near the Cleveland skyline, from further than before. The sunrise was really mostly boring, but for a couple minutes of vivid color that happened as the sun broke the horizon.
    P6040521-X3.

    Here I was out to shoot cloud movement. It ended up being mostly a failure. The skies were mostly bland that day, despite high winds and heavy clouds. There was however, one moment when the clouds let some slivers of sunshine through. I like how you have to discover the magic in this one.
    PA150424-HDR-1903x1070.

    I shot this sunset as mostly reflection, to capture the sky in the expanse of the pond at UWA. This was the best combination of colors and pleasing reflection of the series. This was a great time lapse to boot.
    P6070548-1903x1070.

    Here's a sunrise shot over a different pond. This was another excellent time lapse, with a beautiful progression of color through the blue and golden hours. There was still a best moment, and I plucked it out.
    P6010076-1903x1071.

    You may have noticed I cropped all of these to 16:9. I try to think of this aspect ratio when I frame my time lapse shots, since it is the ratio that will be used in my videos. It just seemed to be the best crop for these stills, when processing.

    So yeah, I think this is a great aspect of being a time lapse shooter. While I'm wandering around looking for critters to photograph, my time lapse cameras are watching the landscape from my carefully chosen viewpoint. Even if the time lapse is a bust because of boring skies, there may have been a couple moments of magic in there, and I will have them. Being able to do things like hand processed 'Live Composite' is a bonus. And I'm not locked into using lighten as the blend mode. I may be exploring this further.

    Thanks for looking!
     
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  2. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Some great shots in there. Time lapse is like landscape photography to me........something I think about while at home but once I'm in the field the only thing my brain sees are animals. I wish I could get my brain to see other things but it just refuses to spot anything but that bullfrog or gator hiding in miss covered lake.
     
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  3. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    Thanks mate. I used to always feel like that too. I think forcing myself to take the 17mm with me on hikes, and using it to snapshot any scene I found pleasing, helped me develop a much better sense for landscape composition. And since I returned to shooting after my hiatus, something seems to have clicked a little further into place in that regard.
    What I really need to do now is put the two disciplines together harmoniously. I need to sense when a wildlife shot will be better by pulling a shorter focal length, and using the natural landscape to make a magical scene, rather than just a close up. Alot of my favorite wildlife imagery has some of that magic. It's difficult to think about when you're in supertelephoto mode. Practice practice practice.
     
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  4. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I have started to get into that mode for my animal/gator/bird shots because of the Little Tuna. I will see something but have no TC on so I will do as I always do and get the shot I have before trying to get the shot I want. Then when I get home I find how much I really like the shot that shows more of the surrounding area then the ones with the EC-20 or after getting super close. Like the deer photos I recently posted in the wildlife thread.
     
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