A New Obsession

I always thought this was done with video or movie cameras. Not so. The best looking time lapse photography is taken with still cameras, like “Clicky” my Canon Digital Rebel.

I have spent the last day or so obsessing. It all started with a link, that led to a link, that led to Ross Ching’s website and Eclectic 2. Ross Ching is the master&#178 of time lapse photography. Eclectic 2 is his latest masterpiece.

Simply put, time lapse photography speeds up action. A full day of traffic or clouds or anything can be boiled down to a few seconds. The true fluidity of nature, usually masked by our normal time frame, becomes instantly obvious.

clicky.jpgI always thought this was done with video or movie cameras. Not so. The best looking time lapse photography is taken with still cameras, like “Clicky” my Canon Digital Rebel&#185.

An electronic switch controls the shutter, allowing it to open at set intervals and for a set amount of time. Officially, it’s an ‘intervalometer.’ I’ve already ordered one on EBay. It’s coming from China.

Ross also uses a telescope’s planetary mount to slowly pan and tilt the camera. Normally, these are used to track the motion of the Earth, so long duration photos of the sky can be taken without the stars smudging or forming trails. It has to be capable of very slow, very dependable, but steady, motion, like turning 180&#176 over a few hours.

Sounds like a good Father’s Day gift.

After hundreds of still photos are taken, a video editing program is used to piece them together producing the finished moving image. Because a digital still camera usually has better optics and a better sensor than a ‘regular’ video camera, the finished product can be spectacular. But, because it’s a time lapse, this is all very time consuming with a few minutes of video taking hours and hours.

There are some pretty cool video on the web, but none cooler than those from Ross – a college student. If you haven’t clicked to look yet, you really should.

Right now I’m chomping at the bit to join in. I have my own ideas on some shots that might be very interesting.

&#185 – I don’t know which is stranger, that I’ve named my camera, or that friends have actually referred to my camera by its name without prompting! We’re all very troubled.

&#178 – Since I wrote this, I have stumbled upon 599 Productions in Burbank. Wow, these are amazing too. Where Ross concentrates on rural settings, “599” shoots lots of nighttime city videos, which I find particularly attractive.

5 thoughts on “A New Obsession”

  1. My Christmas gift was a Canon Rebel XTi. The problem is I don’t know how to use it! The main reason I went with the XTi was I thought it would be a good choice for photographing my daugher’s hockey games….but my first attempts have not gone well. I need to learn about how to use all the manual settings. You take beautiful photographs – do you have a book that has helped you? Is there anything you can recommend?

  2. Hi Patty –

    It’s a great camera and capable of great pictures. I’m guessing you knew that part already.

    My guess is, you’re shooting in “auto.” In that case, it’s just a big ‘point and shoot’ camera, but you are asking it to be more.

    Are your pictures blurry? The camera is trying to balance what it’s been given. You can easily change that.

    The kit lens that comes with the camera isn’t the best, but it’s better than anything you’ve used before. It just isn’t very fast, meaning it wants more light than there is at a hockey game. We can help it out.

    If you’ll send me a few of your failures, I can look and make some suggestions. There are a number of other accomplished amateur photographers here. I’m sure they’ll have advice too.

    All the best,

    Geoff Fox

  3. I’m going broke (and running out of free time) trying to keep up with you on the gadget toys…the DVR, CVS video camera, the GPS tracker, and now this – I’ve been wanting to try this for the longest time.

    My dad is about to tear down his house and build a new one in it’s place, and he wants to try this technique to record the entire process, but I think the logistics may prove more daunting than he realizes. He has a vid cam that will do timelapse, but I keep telling him still cameras are the better option – but the biggest issue will be geting a camera and tripod in the exact same place over the many months of the process.

  4. There’s another problem. Construction and demolition are not linear processes. You’ll find the video doesn’t look as expected.


  5. Wow….Mr. Ching’s work is incredible. I felt like I didn’t want the video to end. I thought the cows were hilarious…and the stars beyond words. This has been one fun weekend viewing your blog since I am such a photo fan. Between Wendie, & Mr. Ching’s work and Patty’s hockey dilemma it’s been a blast! I’ll be waiting to see Patty’s new photos and what you come up with when you get your intervalometer!!! Evi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *