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Time Lapse Photography
Timelapse Tutorial

What is Time Lapse Photography - Part 1

What is a Time-lapse?

What is a Time-lapseTime-lapse is where a camera takes a sequence of images of a subject with an interval of time between each image. The interval can be anything from less than a second to a day or more. When the images are played back the interval of time is speeded up creating shorter time. Photo right is 8 sample shots of the different stages of a daffodil opening over a period of 20 hours. You can see the actual daffodil timelapse here...

The time that lapses can vary from less than a second to days months or years. Examples showing the different time scales you can try are: Ice melting over a period of less than 30 minutes here... to the cycle of a tree photographed over 11 months here...

Equipment needed

Camera: You can take a time-lapse sequence with most cameras types, digital format has made the process easier due to the large number of frames taken and the ability to view as a movie with a computer.

Certain cameras have the ability to take timed shots where you set the length of time, this is called an intervalometer or an interval shooter. The benefits are you can leave the camera to photograph the subject rather than you having to manually take the shots. You can also buy a remote release for some cameras, they help as you do not touch the actual camera and so reduce camera movement. If you do have to press the shutter, to minimise camera shake I would suggest using the camera's timer.

Tripod: A vital piece of equipment which enables you to set the camera up in a fixed position. When taking a time-lapse it is very important that the camera does not move or the effect well be spoilt. You can pan and zoom the camera, but it should be done as a slow sequence as part of the time-lapse. In this sequence of a Narrowboat ascending a lock here... I panned and zoomed the camera incrementally.

Equipment neededShots that require a long duration or are in a place where a tripod would be difficult to use I make a simple base which I can drop the camera into. This also means your camera is not tied up to just doing that time-lapse. The shot of a tree photographed over 11 months here... was done this way as positioning a tripod over the 11 months would have been impractical as on some occasions a shot was taken just 2-3 times a week. It is important to make sure the base takes the camera with little movement, this helps to make sure each shot is in the same position. If you do make a base you need to ensure that nothing can interfere or damage the camera.

Batteries: Good batteries are essential especially if you are time-lapsing outdoors, it also helps if your camera battery can be changed without removing the camera off the tripod. If the time-lapse is taken indoors it is better if you use the cameras mains charger to avoid draining the battery.

Memory: You need to make sure you have enough space for the time-lapse, this can be anything from70 to 1000 or more shots. I would suggest setting the camera on a low jpeg setting and see how many shots it allows.

Timelapse Tutorial
Part 1 - What is time-lapse photography
Part 2 - Taking time-lapse photography
Part 3 - Making a time-lapse film

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