Shooting Time Lapse
Time-lapse photography is a technique whereby the interval at which film frames are captured is much lower than that used to view the sequence. Typically video is recorded at 24–30 frames per second, and played back at the same speed. In time-lapse photography however, images are captured at a much slower rate, 1 image every 3–5 seconds. When the result played at normal speed, time appears to be passing much faster.
This particular example is made from 1175 images shot over 80 minutes. There are a few things that are necessary for time-lapse photography. The first is a camera that you can shoot in manual mode, an intervalometer. An intervalometer is a remote trigger or cable release that allows the user to configure the capture of several images at a specific frequency. In this example it’s every 4 seconds. You will also need a sturdy tripod or or surface to leave your camera on, and a composition with movement.
Movement is important in a time lapse as it demonstrates the fast passage of time within the sequence. If there is no movement between the frames then the final result will not be very interesting. Good examples movement to shoot are clouds, traffic or people. In fact anything that has moves. You can even set up your camera on an object that moves. Perhaps your car (securely of course) and shoot frames as you take a trip.
For this time-lapse I was set up on the Penthouse balcony of New Zealand House in London, I was able to come a few hours before the Big Summer Bash and get it set up before people arrived. I configured the manual exposure of the scene to be 1.3 stops under exposed encase of any sudden break in the clouds that would flood the image with an excess of light. I set the focus to manual, and the intervalometer (my DSLR has one built in) to 4 seconds, I also set the white balance to cloudy. You can set it to anything, just make sure its set manually to something for consistency. Once you are happy with your configuration, hit go and walk away. I went to the pub for a pint of Doombar and to do some street photography along the way.
Post processing the images takes a little more finesse and time but again the key is consistency. Once you have developed one image there are many ways you can achieve this; “match exposure” in lightroom, is one way by syncing the development settings of one image across all images. Alternatively y you can use a dedicated Time-Lapse suit like LR-Timelapse which plugs directly into Lightroom, this has additional features that will allow you to become more creative as time passes and you become more experienced. Like shooting day to night sequences as well as development transitions.
The result is an altered almost dream like perception of the world