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Archive for August, 2011

My First D-SLR Timelapse Video…

by on Aug.18, 2011, under Life, Photography

Something new to try 🙂 – I decided to make a timelapse movie with my D-SLR – it’s not fabulous but it’s given me a start to work from 🙂

Firstly what do I mean by a Timelapse movie… Time-lapse photography is a cinematography technique whereby the frequency at which film frames are captured (the frame rate) is much lower than that which will be used to play the sequence back. When replayed at normal speed, time appears to be moving faster and thus lapsing. Processes that would normally appear subtle to the human eye, such as the motion of the sun and stars in the sky, become very pronounced.

My aim at the outset was to try and capture motion in the moonrise and in the clouds in the sky, in then end the very heavy cloudcover obscured much of the moonrise but after the moon was high in the sky the moonlight lighting the clouds from above made for interesting pulsating cloud formations.

NB: I don’t know why the encoder (Quicktime or iMovie) or YouTube have corrupted the first few seconds of the movie (the source movie works fine here and I have retried the encoding & youtube upload a few times with the same results)…

For those who are interested the techniques I used to create this first attempt is as follows:

  1. Tripod – I’m going to be taking lots of exposures over time and I need them all to be taken from the same position (plus in this case they are going to be long exposures so I need a stable platform)
  2. Turn all the Auto functions on my camera off – this means:
    • Frame the scene and set the focus and then set the Lens to Manual Focus and turn off VR – I don’t want the focus to change between shots and I don’t want the power drain of VR for every shot
    • Turn off Auto White Balance and set the White Balance manually – you don’t want it to change drastically between frames – in my case I chose Cloudy
    • Turn off AutoISO and set the exposure manually – in my case I tried a few test shots and opted to use 13 second exposures at f/8 with ISO 400 – in reality you want the Aperture to stay constant (so DoF doesn’t fluctuate) and you want the shutter speed to remain relatively constant (stay shorter than the interval time but not so short as to create blippy effects with moving objects) – if the scene had a large change in exposure over time (e.g. start during the day and then move into night) I’m wondering how to achieve this with more subtle changes in exposure over time (if you used auto exposure you could have radical shifts in overall frame brightness/exposure from frame to frame (e.g sun or moon move in and out from behind clouds)
  3. Set the camera to shoot JPEGs – whilst you can shoot RAWs since I was going to take many hundreds of images I didn’t want to waste storage space or bother post processing them so I simply chose JPEG Normal at Small Size (which is still massive resolution for a video)
  4. Turn off the Image Review function – to conserve battery
  5. Use an Intervalometer – this allows you to program a sequence of images to take – in my case I simply set it to take an image every 20 seconds for a unlimited number of images (till the battery drains, the card fills or I turn it or the camera off). My Nikon D7000 has an intervalometer function built right into the camera but as I shot this with my D90 I used my $20 eBay programmable wired remote

Some other tips include:

  • The factors which relate say the (S)hutter speed, (I)nterval between shots in seconds, (O)verall time in seconds, movie (F)rame rate in frames per second, movie (L)ength in seconds, etc are that… S should be less than I, and O = L * F * I, and the number of shots required to be taken will be L * F, and the apparent time speed increase will be I * F
  • in my case the just over 30 second movie (L) at 25 frames per second (F) required 770 images which when taken at 20 second intervals (I) took just over four and a quarter hours to complete with an apparent time speed increase of 500x
  • Use an Interval suitable for the type of thing you are shooting – object which change/move slowly over time (e.g. stars, moon, clouds, etc) can be shot with longer intervals but scenes with faster moving objects (people, vehicles, etc) will need much shorter intervals
  • Drag the shutter – basically don’t use really short (e.g. much shorter than 1 sec) shutter speeds when there are moving objects expected in the frame – this is because shooting with short shutter speeds will lead to objects appearing as blips in the movie rather than smoothly or blurily moving through it
  • Battery – make sure it is fully charged before starting – you’re taking a lot of images which will chew up a lot of juice
  • Card Space – make sure you’ve got enough memory card space to store all these sequential images

I then just loaded all the images into QuickTime Pro (the older version) and used the Open Image Sequence… function and selected the first image from the sequence which created the Quicktime movie at the frame rate I selected in the wizard.

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Street: Week 31…

by on Aug.15, 2011, under Life, Photography, Street

Week 31

Some curves for you this week 🙂

Rail Curve

NIKON D7000 + 70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 270 mm, 1/160 sec at f/5.6, ISO 500

Mural Curve

NIKON D7000 + 70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 70 mm, 1/160 sec at f/4.5, ISO 100

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by on Aug.13, 2011, under Life, Photography, Street

I’d entered the Sydney Morning Herald 1440 Challenge (shoot like a photo journalist to three photo briefs given on one day) recently and in a real turn of events I’ve just been informed that my entry in the “Red” category has won that division. Apparently out of the 700 odd entries my image below (taken from way above :)) caught the judges eye – go figure 🙂

The results and some of the other finalists entries can be seen on the FotoRiesel Sydney Morning Herald 1440 Photo Challenge web site.


NIKON D7000 + 17.0-50.0 mm f/2.8 @ 32 mm, 1/320 sec at f/6.3, ISO 250

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Street: Week 30…

by on Aug.11, 2011, under Life, Photography, Street

Week 30

Back Street

NIKON D7000 + 17.0-50.0 mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm, 1/160 sec at f/5, ISO 560

Looking Through

NIKON D7000 + 17.0-50.0 mm f/2.8 @ 32 mm, 1/160 sec at f/5, ISO 160

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Long Reef Dawn Seascapes @ Collaroy – Aka Cloudless Skies…

by on Aug.09, 2011, under Life, Photography

My local camera club had an early morning outing to Long Reef at Collaroy here in Sydney for a dawn and sunrise photoshoot followed by a breakfast bbq over the weekend.

It has been almost exactly a year since I last shot at Long Reef. We had a very early 5:30AM start in the carpark at Long Reef Golf Club for the walk around the course and headland, and then down the ridge to the ocean and reef. Sunrise was due to arrive at 6:45AM however the best light for seascapes is generally that hour long period before sunrise and then perhaps some time afterwards depending on the clouds and conditions.

There are a couple of things a photographer really desires for a good seascape shoot:
– no rain 🙂
– a sunrise 🙂
– clouds – some but not too much so you get great colour in the sky and clouds
– not too much wind and sea spray (although moving clouds is nice during the really long exposures)
– you will also be concerned with the tides (depending on whether you want low, still water, high, lots of wave action, etc)

Unfortunately whilst we had the first two (it was glorious weather for winter) we had absolutely no clouds at all and the skies were perfectly clear which makes things rather difficult for typical seascape compositions.

Given the conditions (it was also low tide which left most of the reef exposed with lots of pools of nice still water for reflections) I decided to try my hand at light painting rocks on the reef shelf before sunrise and then opted for some slow moving water compositions after sunrise.

Note: These images (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay gallery viewer.

6AM (about 45 minutes before sunrise). For this image I’m facing away from where the sun would be rising and back towards the city with an ultra wide angle (@8mm), no filters, etc. This was pretty much a guess of the exposure of 3 minutes @ f/8 (and almost nailed it – lucky). In the original image I had a single rock in the bottom third and I painted it with a torch during some of the exposure (again a guess as to how long). In the end however the feeling was that the rock really wasn’t adding (in fact detracting) to the image so I cropped in post to exclude it but other than that and some minor post processing this image is nearly as shot.
Lavender Dreaming

NIKON D7000 + 8.0-16.0 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 8 mm, 180 sec at f/8, ISO 100

6:20AM – switched to the 17-50mm so I could use my Lee filter and 3 stop hard ND Grad and tried one more facing towards where the sun will rise – even with the grad to darken down the sky you can see it’s much lighter now with a 15 second exposure at f/16 and my rock painting had to be much brighter (used two torches) and quicker during this relatively short exposure
Blue Reef

NIKON D7000 + 17.0-50.0 mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm, 15 sec at f/16, ISO 100

6:25AM – by this time I’m struggling to control the light and everything after this was basically too bright even with the grad

NIKON D7000 + 17.0-50.0 mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm, 10 sec at f/20, ISO 100

6:46AM (sunrise). I was lucky enough to find this spot with a nice break in the reef edge along with these nice setos of rocks (one close and one off in the distance) all nicely lined up with the sun as it peeks over the horizon. Sometimes luck plays it’s role as I’m scrambling to setup in time as the sun just hits the horizon (within two minutes the whole show is over and the sun is up)
Rays of Dawn

NIKON D7000 + 17.0-50.0 mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm, 1/2 sec at f/22, ISO 100

7:15AM (30 minutes after sunrise). I shot the following with both the 3 stop hard Lee Grad ND stacked with a 4 stop (HiTech) ND which a fellow photographer on the reef kindly lent me which allowed me to reduce my shutter speed to a more useful 1/3 second @ f/16 rather than having to shoot at f/32+
The Wash

NIKON D7000 + 17.0-50.0 mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm, 1/3 sec at f/11, ISO 100

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