Speed Up Time - tyneholm
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Speed Up Time

Assignment L46

For this assignment you will be taking a break from shooting conventional still images. To convey time, movement, or change, it is better to capture a time-lapse sequence. This is a technique where you take a series of photos at regular intervals and then combine them into a continuous sequence to create a sped-up version of time. In this way you can compress hours (or even days) into just seconds or minutes. Time-lapse sequences can be a great way to highlight change, such as the sun rising and setting, the motion of waves, mist rolling over hills, or star trails. 

As with any landscape photo, a strong composition is key. Scenes with a mix of dynamic and static elements work well. You only require a basic set-up to create a time-lapse video-a camera, a tripod, and an intervalometer (a device that triggers the camera at precise and regular intervals). Increasingly, cameras have this functionality built-in, and some even have a dedicated time-lapse function that will produce the video for you. You can also create basic time-lapse videos on your smartphone. 

Your camera will need to be in a fixed position, and many advanced time-lapse photographers will employ auxiliary gadgets to introduce panning. Or, if you want more creative control, you can capture the frames and use dedicated software like Photoshop to organize and compile your sequence. 

The number of images you need to take will depend on how long you want your time-lapse to be, but you will typically need 25 frames to create one second of footage (so a 30-second clip would need 750 frames). Trial and error will play a big part in creating a sequence. 

View the images


  • Shoot in Raw to achieve a large dynamic range and to allow non-destructive adjustments in post-processing.
  • Use large-capacity memory cards to avoid running out of memory before the sequence is complete. 
  • Use memory cards with a fast write speed to prevent the camera buffer filling up. 
  • To avoid flickering it is best to set the exposure in Manual mode. 
  • Try to keep your shutter speed below 1 /50 sec. to keep the transition between frames smooth. If necessary, use a neutral density (ND) filter to achieve this. 
  • Ensure batteries are fully charged before you start and the sensor and lens are clean. 
  • Set White Balance manually for consistency throughout your sequence. 

Field Notes

  • You need movement and change to create interest, for example, the contrast of dark to light. No two scenes are alike, so you will need to experiment with the interval speed to get it just right; fast movement will require shorter intervals than slower-moving elements.
  • To capture a rising or setting sun or a bustling urban landscape, an interval duration of 1-3 sec. is a good starting point. 

Special Kit

  • Sturdy tripod
  • lntervalometer 
  • Neutral density (ND) filter
  • Post-processing software, such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom