Clouds Are Made For Timelapse

SoCal is normally a cloud free zone. Not today! Yesterday’s overcast (Do I get a refund off my mortgage?) was followed today by cumulus clouds. They are majestic, especially when sped up.

This time lapse was shot with my Canon 7D using Magic Lantern and edited in Adobe Premiere CS6. There’s plenty of resolution, so click the button in the lower right hand corner of the player and fill your screen.

I’m trying a new technique, so please let me know if the video isn’t playable in your browser.

Sometimes I Get Obsessed


A few days ago I started fooling around (again) with Magic Lantern. ML is firmware for my camera which makes it do all sorts of things it wasn’t designed to do! Magic Lantern enabled me to get hummingbird close-ups. Now I’m using it for timelapse photography.

This is the norm for me. Once I get a new tool I use it obsessively until I’ve mastered it.

I set my camera up at the end of our street. Cloud timelapses almost beg for a wide angle photography. I used a 10mm lens tilted up to catch lots of sky. Magic Lantern took one frame every second, producing a video 30 times normal speed.

The hills in the background are part of the Loma Ridge, foothills of the Santa Ana range.

Here’s the result of my effort. Click the box to watch it full screen.

Three Las Vegas Timelapse Videos

Yes, I am too obsessed with timelapse video. It’s a gimmick, but it’s often the best way to see mainly static scenes in a new light. At least that’s what I’m trying to convince myself.

Here are three timelapse videos. They were all shoot out our hotel window on the 24th floor of Aria in Las Vegas.

Windows are terrible for photography. That goes double for double pane windows, which is what we have here.

Of course there’s no choice. These windows don’t open!

If you’ve never been to Las Vegas this might wet your appetite.

My Very Cool Las Vegas Day-To-Night Timelapse

As promised, here is a timelapse video shot through the window of our hotel room in Las Vegas. We’re on the 49th floor. The view is pretty spectacular. The camera is looking west, toward the setting Sun. The rest of the Las Vegas Strip is hidden off to the left. Downtown Las Vegas is far to the right, also hidden.

I expected the haze and cirrus to produce a beautiful red glow. No such luck. You’ll hardly miss it.

In case you’re wondering, this timelapse was shot one frame every two seconds. That makes this sixty times normal speed.

It’s pretty obvious why you don’t want to shoot through a window. In this case it’s two windows! Double panes are used for noise and climate control.

All things considered, not too bad.

I’m Happy To See Haze


I just came up to our room to get something and looked out the window. It’s the kind of view you can’t get enough of, courtesy of a cousin who checked in before us and finagled a room on the 49th floor!

The sky is hazy with a very thin layer of cirrus clouds. Only 100&#176 now! We’re down from the high.


That’s my limited perspective speaking. Perfect, because haze and see-through cloudiness produce the best sunsets! This room looks west. I’m hoping to make a sunset timelapse.

gopro-mount-on-windowIf you’ll look closely at the window you’ll see the housing for my GoPro Hero camera already suctioned on the window frame. The idea is to shoot the Sun going down then continue rolling to catch the lights of the city and its traffic.

This double paned window with water spots from the last rain isn’t ideal, but no one’s letting me the roof. I’ll close the curtains to keep any room light from creating glare or reflections and hope for the best.

Las Vegas sunset is 7:53 PDT (10:53 PM EDT) tonight. If it works the results go online before I hit the sack.

Clouds Make The Sky

Cirrus Timelapse   YouTube

If you’re interested in fun outdoors nothing beats a beautiful blue sky. For photography not so much! Clouds add texture and contrast. Blue skies are boring.

I have a huge photo of Monument Valley hanging upstairs which was taken on a sunny day. I added clouds for a better shot!

Sorry Mother Nature. Please don’t get upset I’m screwing with your work product.

I looked up around an hour ago and saw cirrus clouds. That meant this would be a great afternoon for time lapse photography.

Take a look and let me know what you think. Without these clouds this might as well have been a still.

My Blizzard Of 2013 Timelapse

Helaine got me a GoPro Hero for my birthday. It’s a very small, nearly indestructible, video camera. They have been dropped by sky and scuba divers and survived.

This time lapse starts just after 6:00 AM and goes past 11:00 PM. It stops because there’s nothing left to see!

There are a bunch of web postings saying the GoPro’s battery is only good for 2.5 hours of timeslapse. That’s why I plugged it into an AC adapter and propped it up against a glass paneled door to the deck.

There’s Cool Techno Stuff Going On Tonight

It’s tough to explain except you’ll know it when you see it on-the-air.

This entry was originally posted in July. After being online for a few hours it was pointed out I was revealing company secrets. I took it down, but kept it on the server.

Now that the promo this entry is based on is on-the-air I thought you might like to see a little of the behind the scenes magic that makes this work.

Chad Sherman, master of After Effects, magically put this all together. It’s pretty darned cool.

We’re taping some promos today here at TV Factory Outlet. That’s not an unusual occurrence. What is unusual are the technical details! The promos marry live action to HDR (high dynamic range) time lapse video.

It’s tough to explain except you’ll know it when you see it on-the-air.

In order to pull this off camera moves in the field must be matched to camera moves in the studio. Bill Murphy, chief wizard for this production, has built his own dual laser pointing system (sitting atop the camera) to enable the shooting angles to be coordinated… or so he hopes.

Here’s Brent Hardin standing in front of a green chromakey wall while Bill Murphy slides a Canon 5D Mark II shooting video.

And here’s the finished product:

[jwplayer mediaid=”11684″]

Stars Over Hamden: Time Lapse Animation

I pointed the camera toward the sky. A few stars were bright enough to use to focus. This was going to be a 100% manually set shoot.

My intention was to go out and view Comet McNaught last night. For a variety of reasons (including disappointing results from others) I stayed home. Still, stars and sky were on my mind!

I pulled out the camera (aka Clicky), threw on my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens (Thanks again Santa… how do you know?), picked up my tripod and intervalometer and headed out to the deck. After yesterday’s hellish storms it was good to be outside on a clear, nicely breezy, warm night. The oppressive humidity of the afternoon was long gone.

I pointed the camera toward the sky. A few stars were bright enough to use to focus. This was going to be a 100% manually set shoot.

I pulled back the zoom from its maximum focal length down to 100mm then snapped off a shot at f/2.8, 1 second, iso 1600. I needed to make sure the camera would capture something. It did. Zooming in showed the picture was pretty sharp.

The one second shutter was a critical number. As you’ll see in the animation the stars move across the sky. Hold the shutter open too long and the stars will be streaky blurs.

My last step was setting the intervalometer. I set it to six second intervals which gave me ten shots a minute.

I let it run for around 45 minutes.

The finished product was run through Sony Vegas 9, a video editor. Levels were adjusted, but there’s an interesting conflict between stars and noise if you bring the gain up too much. That’s a technique probably only learned through trial and error.

Originally this was uploaded to Youtube. It was compressed so much the stars virtually disappeared. This method is a little better, but I’ll probably work on another method this weekend.

Time Lapse: Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull Volcano

The lenses and resolution available along with the size and weight of DSLRs allows for images that just weren’t produced by amateurs before.

One of the recent surprising products of DSLR still cameras has been unreal time lapse photography. The lenses and resolution available along with the size and weight of the DSLRs allow for images that just weren’t produced by amateurs before.

The photographer is a little cryptic but I think he’s using an experimental dolly from MILAPSE, a Michigan time lapse photographer who has pioneered inexpensive options for adding camera motion to time lapse.

The movie below was shot earlier this month in Iceland.