Last week I managed my annual early morning sunrise trip to Broom Hill Park, Strood. I am not good at doing early mornings. The park is a short walk from where I live and this time of year you can see some amazing sunrises over the Medway towns, without having to get up ridiculously early.
I didn't want to simply repeat the same shots as previous years so I decided to experiment with some time-lapse photography.
Time lapse is where you make a short video from many still images. The number and frequency of your shots depends on the length of time you want your video to run, factoring how often your scene/subject changes and how smooth you want the transition to run. Apps like PhotoPills can help you with these calculations.
I opted to keep things simple. With my DSLR mounted on a tripod I took three exposure bracketed shots every 30 seconds over a fifteen minute period. Taking care to adjust my settings before each shot as the light was constantly changing. I ended up with 90 still shots.
At the same time I had my iPhone mounted on a second tripod and set off the time-lapse option in the built-in camera app. The default setting is 1 frame per second up to the first 20 minutes. The result was this short video.
The advantage with the iPhone video was that I could immediately upload and share. The disadvantage is the lack of opportunity to edit the frames. The dog walkers create a distraction from the main subject, which should be the rising sun. Although I do love how more of them appear as the sun rises higher in the sky.
The DSLR version took more time with post production editing. Firstly all the bracketed shots had to be merged together to make 30 images. I then applied the same post production edits to each image including the removal of most of the dog walkers. The images were then pulled together into a video clip using Adobe Premiere Rush. Other video software is available including the free version of Canva. The end result I think has a better quality feel to it, with better colours and clarity and no distractions from the main subject matter. It's not perfect but I quite like rustic for my first attempt.
I believe both videos have their own unique appeal for different reasons.
Having tried it once I would never confess to being an expert on time-lapse photography. I don't really see myself as being a "film" maker preferring to create a still image. Having said that I am glad to have had a little experiment in this field and will certainly look to do some more in the future.
Don't ever be scared to experiment with your photography. It may not be perfect to start with, practice makes perfect as they say. The important thing is to just enjoy what you do.
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