Queen Elizabeth Country Park Star Trails

Loving the clear winter sky’s recently! Snapped this beauty at Queen Elizabeth Country Park in Horndean earlier this week.

The responsibility of photography

This evening I had an interesting phone call from a former member of 1189 Portsmouth Squadron ATC who had found one of my projects on my website while researching. Having been a member of the squadron all the way back in the 50’s he was seeking to show his grandchildren some of his past.

Photography has a responsibility to trigger nostalgia and to evidence the past. As photographers we are professional observers who’s job it is to document the world around us. 

Old Brewery House  

Reluctance to change falling away

When video as a feature in DSLRs was first announced I hated the idea! My first camera to have it, the Nikon D300s, was terrible! The frame rate was rubbish and the definition and quality was shocking!

This has soon given away with my latest camera and I feel amazed by the prospect of a high definition, interchangeable lens platform that doesn’t cost the earth! 

These thoughts were reinvigorated with the introduction of wifi in cameras. A gimmick used to drive sale to a buyer base that is increasingly technologically equipped!

Again these thoughts have changed, largely with the huge advancement in Adobes Lightroom mobile app to be compatible with RAW files.  The ability to extract a full size, full frame RAW file, edit it and publish it within a couple of minutes of capturing it. No laptop needed. Is amazing! 

The original files still have their value and there are still a lot of limitations on what can be done with images. The wifi connectivity also still has its limits. Such as being unable to extract videos from the camera, unable to initiate video recording and even unable to alter camera settings from the mobile app.

Progress nonetheless, and progress I am starting to embrace! 

An overcast morning by the sea

I took full advantage of this mornings high tide and overcast sky to introduce the new camera to the Cokin Nuance filters.  Creating long exposures in daylight can be great fun and a challenge to meter.

http://www.andrewpaulhayward.com/24th-october-2016.html

A break to shoot

After a very busy half term of teaching Photography I’m quite looking forward to a break with loads of shooting! Including todays first outing with the new camera!

This also means overdue updates to the website!

http://www.andrewpaulhayward.com/22nd-october-2016.html

Shooting a time-lapse

Set is key:

Set up your camera on a tripod and frame the shot you would like, just as if you were setting up for a single photograph.  Set the camera to Aperture Priority (A on a Nikon or Av on a Canon), this will mean the camera sets the shutter speed depending on the lighting conditions at the time, accounting for changes in light from cloud cover or other factors.  Choose a point in the frame to focus on, focus the camera and turn any AutoFocus functions ‘Off’, last thing we want is images with a disparity of focuses.  Finally ensure your camera is set to ‘Fine’ or ‘JPEG’, what! No RAW? That’s right, shoot JPEG.  With the final result being 30fps, the edited video is going to show 30 images every second! The file sizes for processing RAW files, combined with their short screen time, means that shooting RAW is an unnecessary approach.

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The intervals:

For my examples I took a photograph once every 10 seconds for an hour, this will give us a total of 360 images from one hour of shooting and will make a nice smooth 30fps edit at the end.  For timing the intervals a lot of cameras come with an ‘Interval Shooting’ mode (most Nikons do), but if yours doesn’t have one it just means you will need to time and release the shutter every 10 seconds, laborious I know!  An alternative could be to tether your camera to a laptop where many programmes such as Lightroom enable you to shoot at intervals, this does start to depend on other factors though, like needing a fully charged laptop or one that’s going to last a full hour!

Creating the Time-lapse

So what we have so far is a ton of image but no time-lapse, so let’s build!  Different people have different approaches but this is how I do mine.  First every image has to be sharpened and secondly every image needs to be cropped to a ratio of 16:9.  16:9 because that’s a widescreen ratio which is the standard screen ratio of the vast majority of TV’s, Monitors and Screens.  Sharpening because we must always sharpen an image, but how do we do this to 360 images without wanting to pull our eyes out?  Again this is how I do it, open the folder with our images in Adobe Bridge, select all of them, then access File > Open in Camera Raw. 

Next we’re going to select all the images as in the second screenshot.  From here, while all images are selected, anything and everything we do will be applied to all of the images.  We also need to change our cropping ratio to 16:9 and apply the crop to an image. As we shot with a tripod, the parameters of every image are the same anyway so this will easily apply the crop to all 360 images.  Now simply save out the images to a destination of your choosing, keep the file name the same just for ease.  This may take some time depending on how fast your computer is.

Now it’s time to start building the actual time-lapse, a lot of what we’ve done until now has been essential ground work to help it succeed.  To build my time-lapse I’m going to use GoPro Studio which is a free software available from the GoPro website and I find that it works very well.  I’ve tried various softwares in the past, mostly video editing ones, and find them to just be too processor hungry and overly complicated for what we need.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 11.27.52.png

First we’re going to import the images to our project, followed by selecting the imported set, then ‘add clip to conversion list’, then hit ‘Convert’.  From here the software will convert all the images into a single video piece which operates at 29.97 Frames Per Second (fps).  From here ‘Proceed to Step 2’.

When in the edit step we’re not going to make any changes or faffing, this is just if you’re using GoPro studio to apply filters or type or any other video editing tools.  We’re simply going to drag our project on to the timeline and move on to Step 3.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 11.33.49.png

Step 3 is simple, give your time-lapse a name and a saving destination and voila! You have your time-lapse video.

As I said before, this is my approach, you might have your own.  Check out the video below, Happy shooting! 

Eastney Harbour Mouth