#Timelapse Photography

Manassas Battlefield Sunset Time Lapse 10-17-15

Our first cold day of the fall here in Virginia and I decide to go stand outside in the 25mph wind gusts to do a time lapse video at Manassas National Battlefield.  Needless to say I forgot my wool hat at home and my ears and hands were pretty cold and numb by the time I was done.  This video captures the famous Stonewall Jackson statue facing the sunset and you can see visitors to the battlefield wandering around in the background. This time I used basic jpegs to hopefully speed up processing time which it did but also made editing the final product trickier than shooting in raw.  I guess it is a compromise in speed/ease over quality.  This video is best watched in HD 720p in YouTube.  Hope you enjoy!

Time Lapse Photography for Beginners

Yesterday I went out and tried something I've been wanting to do for awhile.  Packed up my camera gear and left the house at 5:30AM to make it to Leesylvania State Park in time for sunrise.  It was raining when I left but hoped that the clouds would clear just enough to get a decent sunrise with nice color.  Fate and nature were on my side and the rain stopped just before getting to the park.  Got out my Nikon D7100 and my trusty Tokina 11-16mm wide angle lens and attached it to my tripod on the pier.  Using the cameras built in intervalometer I set the camera to take a shot every 10 seconds and to take a total of 200 photos.  Here are the final results of my first attempt at capturing a time lapse.  

This time lapse consisted of 197 photos taken at 10 second intervals which took somewhere between 15-20 minutes to complete.  The video was processed using Adobe Lightroom 5.7 and output at 24 Frames per second at 720p to YouTube.  Now a few tips for beginners on accomplishing your first time lapse video.

  1. Digital camera with a built in intervalometer or a third party intervalometer that plugs into the camera so you can do time interval shooting (taking a set number of shots in a predetermined amount of time).  Basically it trips the shutter so you don't have to press the button every time.
  2. Tripod, it's essential that your camera has a stable base so it doesn't move while recording images.
  3. Fully charged batteries and plenty of room on your memory card.  Since you can't afford to have your camera stop shooting in the middle of the process it is important to make sure your battery is fully charged and you have plenty of free space on your card.
  4. Patience, you can stand around for 20 minutes or longer  just waiting for the camera to do it's thing so patience is key.
  5. Don't shoot the highest quality RAW files, I would stick to the smaller RAW files so it will make the processing time faster when actually creating the video.  Full RAW files will make the process painfully slow when you are back doing the work on the computer.  If you don't have a smaller RAW file option shoot JPEG.
  6. Shoot in Aperture Priority mode.  This way the camera will adjust the exposure automatically throughout the shooting process using the light meter.
  7. A program that will let you process the files into a video format when you get home.  I used Adobe Lightroom 5.7 but there are other programs out there that can help you output the images into video.
  8. Lastly, YOU NEED MOTION!  If you don't have anything moving in your time lapse you might as well have just shot a regular photo.  You need motion to make a time lapse interesting.  Clouds, water, cars, people all make interesting moving subjects for a time lapse.