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 master² 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.
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° 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.
¹ – 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.
² – 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.