Timelapse Photography, Part II (February, 2015)

February 12, 2015  •  1 Comment

This is a continuation of my earlier blog post about timlapse photography that I did in the last couple of months. I strongly recommend to read Timelapse Photography, Part I (January, 2015), first so that you understand what I am trying to accomplish here.

Through trial and error, I think I have finally began to understand what is necessary to get a decent time stack. It doesn't have to be a particularly "spectacular" sunset (like when you shoot in a single frame or for high definition). You don't need a full cloud cover reflecting the sunset. In my experience, it is preferable that there are some clouds, kind of like foaming wave crests on a beach on a windy day. You need to adjust intervals between frames depending on how fast the clouds are moving. Typically, I put 2-3 seconds between frames, and it seems to work. I have seen a tutorial where someone used 10-second delay between frames and it worked too.

For sunsets, I start early, when the foreground is still light and I finish when the sky is dark. For sunrises, it is the opposite. As such, I end up taking somewhere between 450 to 800 shots in a single timelapse. However, I use only a small subset from that number. A good time stack could be made out of as little as 50 shots, but on average I use about 150-250 frames. Everything else is a waste. Yeah, I know, this procedure is not very efficient, but the result is fun!

Equipment: Canon 7D, Tripod, Intervalometer, EF-S10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM and EF17-40mm f/4L USM.

Software: StarTrails 2.3, StarStaX 7.0, Advanced Stacker PLUS 14E, Photoshop.

That's it. Enjoy!

Duck Pond (February 3, 2015) startrails stack of 180 photos. Had to stop the sequence earlier than I wished because the full moon that night (you could see a lens flare from the moonlight on the left side of the photo).

Star trails over Duck Pond. Virginia Tech.Star trails over Duck Pond. Virginia Tech.2015.02.03.
Star trails over Duck Pond. Timestack of 180 photos. Campus Photography, Virginia Tech.
Download: 1800 x 1200

Duck Pond (February 3, 2015) sunrise stack of 300 photos. Just trying to capture timelapse flow in water reflection. Yes, you can capture time-stack reflection in the water but it is a bit more involved than just taking a straight time-stack. When I tried to stack the entire sequence the reflections got all washed out in water ripples. So, I did this: I separated 300 photos in 4 sets of approximately 70 photos each (80+80+70+70), and time-stacked each one of them. Then, I blended the 4 resulting photos. This is the result.

Duck Pond, Sunrise Timelapse. Virginia Tech.Duck Pond, Sunrise Timelapse. Virginia Tech.2015.02.03.
Duck Pond Sunrise. Time Stack. 260 photos.
Campus Photography, Virginia Tech.
Download: 1800 x 1200

War Memorial (February 8, 2015) sunrise stack of 93 photos. Pretty straight-forward, not much to it. Camera, tripod, press-the-shutter!

War Memorial. Virginia Tech.War Memorial. Virginia Tech.2015.02.08.
Sunrise at War Memorial. Time stack of 93 photos.
Campus Photography, Virginia Tech.
Download: 1800 x 1200

Holtzman Alumni Center (February 10, 2015) sunset stack of 620 photos. I don't like this stack and I wanted to show you that too many photos in a stack are not necessarily a good thing. Also, I wanted to show you that I end up with many wasted efforts, so, if your timelapse doesn't go right first time, try and try again - eventually, it will.

Holtzman Alumni Center, Sunset Timelapse. Virginia Tech.Holtzman Alumni Center, Sunset Timelapse. Virginia Tech.2015.02.10.
Holtzman Alumni Center. Timelapse. 620 photos.
Campus Photography, Virginia Tech.
Download: 1800 x 1200

Duck Pond (February 11, 2015) sunset stack of 400 photos. Most recent, from yesterday.

Duck Pond, Sunset TimeStack. Virginia Tech.Duck Pond, Sunset TimeStack. Virginia Tech.2015.02.11.
Duck Pond Sunset. Time Stack. 406 photos.
Campus Photography, Virginia Tech.
Download: 1800 x 1200

Anyway, I hope you like this little two-part series. If you happen to take a timelapse, feel free to share.


The one of the Holtzman center, even though you didn't like how it turned out, is still kinda cool because you have the jumble of pastel like colors at the top....but then the building itself look like a B&W photo.

And the duckpond sunrise is fantastic. Nice work
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