Time Lapse Experiments.

Over the last couple of days I have been experimenting with time lapse photography. I’d never done time lapse before but had it in the back of my mind as something I wanted to try.

The first two attempts haven’t been spectacular, and I have made a couple of mistakes. Mistakes are good, you learn from them. My first try took place from the vantage point from the top of Dechmont Hill in Livingston, West Lothian, overlooking the town.

As you can see the weather wasn’t exactly ideal. The main problem was the wind. Having set the interval shooting option to 999 images, 2 taken every 2 seconds, I soon realised I’d be there for a while. Setting the camera to take 2 images was a mistake. I wasn’t totally sure what I was doing. I had to stay close to the camera and tripod to try to shield them from the wind. Just after half way through a strong gust of wind blew my tripod completely out of position, so I stopped there.

Having thought about this first try, after editing and seeing how compression affected the quality of the final sequence, I realised I should alter my settings to fewer images over a longer period (longer interval between shots). I had also used standard jpeg as I wasn’t sure how much room the memory card had.

So for my second attempt I went to a different location, a footbridge over the M8 motorway. I thought this might be good, capturing the motion of the cars flying underneath me.

I intended to change my settings as discussed. However once at the bridge I found that because the previous time lapse hadn’t completed I couldn’t change it. There will be a way I’m sure, I just didn’t know how, so I decided just to ‘restart’ and let it run as it was set the previous evening.

About half way through shooting I spotted a police van pull up beneath me. Oh-oh I thought. Sure enough a policeman eventually appeared. ‘You’re not for me are you?’ I asked, knowing full well he was.  Somebody had been ‘concerned’ and called them. The police were fine once I explained what I was doing.

The mistake(s) with this shoot were that the images were in black and white. I am not sure how this happened. Except that I always have my image display set to b/w, a tip I got from a Matt Granger video, it helps to evaluate your exposure, highlights and shadows etc. So I always have that on. Colour information is retained though, so when editing you still have colour images. This was the case for the previous time lapse, and when imported the images appeared as colour.

Not so with my second go. I also noticed I had left the camera set to ‘movie’ instead of still images (I was using a Nikon D7100). You can take still images at that setting though, so not sure if that would have affected this.

The good thing was that the sequence completed so I can now alter my settings next time. I will also have to change my image display, and make sure the camera is set to still images.


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