Tuesday, April 16, 2013
How time-lapse photography led to turning stacks of frames into a single image
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
|Human Tornado. This "timestack" is made from 340 photos of myself drumming, merged into one image. The interval between shots was 1 second. It was a low-light situation, so I cranked up the ISO to get a quicker shutter speed (1/5 of a second). I had previously tried a longer shutter speed and the drumsticks almost disappeared, so I wanted to see how the faster speed would look. You can clearly see the drumsticks in this one, as I had hoped.|
Six Moons Setting. For this one, I selected six photos out of the hundreds I had shot that night. I had first tried it with all the photos, and the moon looked like a curved line across the photo—a little too much—so I decided less is more this time.
It wasn't too long ago that I discovered "star trail" photos. They're most commonly made from multiple photos of stars shot from a fixed position and later merged into one image. After trying this technique a few times, I wondered what it would look like with time-lapse sequences I had shot during the day.
My first few tries produced some interesting results, but looked a little too "busy" or "abstract." A little experimenting with choosing the right sequences and number of shots resulted in exciting images.
Living on the shore of Lake Ontario, just east of Toronto, facing the west, has resulted in quite a library of sunset time-lapses. These were the first subjects of my experimentation with this technique.
I call the images made with this technique "timestacks." To make them, I use a time-lapse sequence as my source. Timestacks are really a distillation of a video into a single picture. The movements of clouds often look like brushstrokes and give the image a painterly feel. It gives you a different perspective of time and a unique sense of motion.
My time-lapse sequences are usually multiple photos taken from a fixed position. You can use an external intervalometer to control the camera, or your camera may have that capability built in. If you have a Canon EOS DSLR, you can load software to perform the function. More about that later.
The interval between shots can change the look of the final image quite a bit. The shorter the interval between shots, the smoother the movements will look. I usually shoot in the range of 3 to 6 seconds during the day. I load my photos onto the computer and open the first one in Photoshop, making adjustments for color and contrast while recording my actions so I can apply them to all the photos. I highly recommend using an automated process for this, as it will save you time, but mainly a lot of tedious work.
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