Timelapse and Nature

FOR BEST VIDEO, Wait a couple of seconds to allow download to start before pushing play!

With photography we are limited to a slice of life equal to the shutter speed. Anywhere from 1/8000 of a second ( even shorter if you are using high speed flash) to maybe several hours (think star trail images) put together into a single image. This is a static view of life but sometimes a more dynamic view of life is moving. Videos are a good example, but they happened in real time, unless you edit together multiple clips. What if you want to show what happens over time in a single video clip? Ah, enter the timelapse video.

Timelapse video is actually single still images taken at certain intervals and then put together into a video clip. In today’s world of digital, it is a fairly easy process. More and more cameras come with a built in intervelometer which allows you to set how many images and how often they get taken. Some digital cameras now have a timelapse function which takes the images and then processes them into a timelapse video in camera.

Even my iPhone has this capability, which I used here to create the fog over Deception Pass Bridge on Whidbey Island, WA.

Not too bad for a handheld for 4 minutes with an iPhone5 time-lapse.. I did stabilize some on a rock!


Some quick things to think about for Timelpase.

  1. Timing– quick moving subject (clouds, sunrise/ set) use interval of 1-2 seconds. Slow moving clouds use 5-10 seconds.
  2. Shutter speed– try to keep your shutter speed at or below 1/30 second(otherwise images can be very sharp but look choppy in video).
  3. Aperture– don’t use Shutter priority because this may cause flicker as the Aperture varies with light.
  4. Try to use Manual exposure so your shutter speed and aperture won’t vary.
  5. Manual focus and don’t change focus.
  6. Use a Neutral density filter to help bring the shutter speed down (I use a SinghRay Thin Ring VariND filter)
  7. A tripod is a must!
  8. You need 10-30 images per second of video. The standard is 24-30 images per second. So 10 seconds of video will need 300 images at 30 frames/ second.

For some outstanding TimeLapse video, especially of nature, go look at Tom Lowe’s Timescapes Website.. Awesome! and the forums are a great place to learn..

Leave a Reply