Remind you of anyone?
This week I thought I’d try a bit of timelapse, which I guess isn’t, strictly speaking, photography, but hey, I used a stills camera, I processed the images in Lightroom, and I shot (nearly) everything at f22, so it’s almost there, isn’t it? I suppose I’m stretching the remit of the project a little this week, but I’ve only got so much time on my hands, and the idea to do this came directly from the image I shot last week, so I’m not too worried.
Timelapse is fun and frustrating in equal measure. Actually, no, it’s a lot more fun than frustrating, but that’s not to say that it isn’t very annoying when 3 hours of work ends up un-usable because of some silly mistake or oversight.
The technique is deceptively simple in concept – all you need is a camera, a good sturdy tripod, an intervalometer (a programable device to trigger the exposures on a set routine – I use the Canon TC 80n3), and lots of time. You point the camera at your scene, set your intervalometer to record an image every couple of seconds, sit back for 15 minutes or so and then gather the images together in a video editor.
In practice, however, things are inevitably not so simple, and things go wrong all the time. I don’t think I had a clean run where at least something wasn’t problematic.
Here’s what I learned about timelapse this weekend …
I’ve had way more failures than successes with timelapse so far, but it’s really fun, and very satisfying when it works. I’ll definitely be back for more. Perhaps when the weather’s improved a bit though!
Also, it would be remiss of me not to say that loads of incredible advice and guidance about how to do practically anything video related with a Canon 5D MKii is available on Philip Bloom’s website, and I got much of the info about how to shoot and treat timelapse from his site. Have a look at his most recent timlapse video ‘Sky’, along with detailed production notes, here.
Entry 2 of a ’52 weeks’ project I’m having a crack at wherein every image of the project will be taken at f22 and will therefore be unforgivingly sharp throughout the focal range.
I love these structures and think I will probably take quite a lot of photographs of them for this project, but it’s a bit of a miserable one this … it was grey, dull and rainy, and there’s so much clutter. I’m not sure I like it a great deal but I suppose it’s not feasible to expect that I’ll be happy with every image I take for this project. I guess it’s half the point that you don’t, and therefore learn something.
Here’s an image I took of some gas towers in Hackney when I lived there a few years back …
In a rush of New Year’s motivation I decided to give a ’52 weeks’ project a go this year. What this means is that you pick a certain theme and then use it to make an image every week. They’re very popular among budding photographers and the benefits they give to developing a certain skill or sensibility are obvious.
Last year I bought a wonderful lens – a Sigma f1.4 50mm. It can take pictures with extreme ‘bokeh’ – a very shallow depth of field – where only a very small part of the image is in focus, and the rest is blurred. Here’s a couple of examples:
The effect is very pretty, very impactful. It helps focus the attention of the eye, and removes distracting background clutter by blurring it out.
The problem is that it’s too easy! It’s almost like cheating; like adding free pathos to every image you take.
So, in order to try and avoid getting stuck in a rut, and to help keep my brain working, I thought I would make f22 the theme of my 52 weeks project. For the uninitiated, this means that the whole image will be in crisp focus, no shallow depth of field helping to make my pictures look better than they really are.
Above is my first effort, somewhat lazily taken out of the roof window of my study, overlooking the houses of Forest Hill.