Time-lapse Photography

Hello Everyone!

Since this week’s theme is camera related I thought that I would take this opportunity to share one of my personal/school projects. As mentioned on our about page, I am currently an architecture major at Mississippi State University. This project was completed spring semester of this past school year as a component of my site analysis. The main point of the project was to familiarize ourselves with the area in which we were to design our hypothetical buildings. I was placed in the ‘weather’ group. Originally I had been chosen to study the constellations but I soon developed an interest in the sky. I wanted to show how the sky changes throughout the day and the effect, if any, that this change posed on the landscape. In order to accomplish this, I needed a way to accurately document both the sky and the land at various points throughout the day. The obvious choice was photography.

Although photography was the best choice for this project, it was not an easy task. I have almost no experience whatsoever in photography of any kind, much less landscape photography. Since I knew I needed photographs from points throughout the day I decided to begin at sunrise and end at sunset. Once I had all the photographs I could overlap them to create a time-lapse of the day. This method allowed me to make the comparison and adequately show the changes throughout the day. This particular process can also be applied to time-lapse photography of other objects. You simply need to adjust the timing of the photographs to fit your project.

Step 1: The main things that you will need are a good quality camera and a camera stand. Be sure to charge your camera before setting up if you are photographing outdoors; one of the worst things to happen would be for it to die in the middle of the shoot. Because I was photographing for around 12 hours, I created a schedule of the pictures I wanted to capture. I have a total of 32 pictures in my final photograph. The ones at the beginning and the end are 5 minutes apart while the middle ones are 30 minutes apart. This was to ensure that I captured the quicker changes near the sunrise and sunset. It is very important to not move the camera or change the zoom during this step, either may result in your images not lining up.

Step 2: Normally cameras are set to a particular white balance setting that is automatically changed based on the lighting. However, I wished to have more control over the outcome of the pictures I was capturing since I wanted minimal editing. My camera allows the white balance to be changed at will if it is in the manual setting. There are many graphics online that visually show the best white balance settings for different environments. I would highly recommend researching these before attempting to photograph this way, it can take some practice to get good results if you only use trial-and-error. Each time I took a photo I used 3-4 white balance settings that were very close to one another. This made it much easier during the editing process to choose my photographs based on how they would look next to each other. I did this to give the final result a smoother transition.

Step 3: There are a couple of ways to complete this step. One is to calculate how wide each photograph would be and the other is to use a layering process. For the layering process, each photograph is placed on top of one anther in order then you create an opacity gradient to expose the layers underneath. Although this would likely be the best way I chose to use the first method since I do not have a lot of experience with Photoshop. To calculate the widths you take the final picture width and divide it by the amount of photos you want to use. For example, if the picture is 12 inches wide and you have 20 photos each photo width would be .6 inches wide. Next you crop and place each photo starting with the left side. The very left photo will be full size, the next one will be missing the left .6 inches, the following one will be missing the left 1.2 inches, and so on.

Step 4: Now any other editing such as sharpening the image or enhancing the colors can take place. I found that this step was much easier after all the photos had been placed together.

Step 5 (Optional): I took my completed photo into Indesign and added white lines between each image to separate the time slots that I photographed in. This separation was necessary for my project but if it is not crucial to yours I would recommend using the blur tool to make the transition between each photo smoother. This will create a nicer gradient.

real master

Here is my final result! I hope you enjoyed this project and found it helpful. Later this week Alexis will be posting her project, I’ve seen a couple sneak peaks and it looks awesome so far. Also feel free to follow us on our Instagram, the username is theartsyfartsys. We post an update for each new blog post as well as teasers for upcoming posts so be sure to check that out!





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s