Fushimi Inari-taisha – First try of a Stop Motion Timelapse

While in Kyoto I visited the Fushimi Inari-taisha which is located at the base of a mountain and includes hundreds (if not thousands) of shrine gates.  The scene is simply breathtaking and something worth seeing for sure.  The shrine is a few train stops from Kyoto station so not far at all!

Usually during my vacation I like to try something new with timelapse whether its a zoom hyperlapse or shooting the milky way there is a lot of room for creativity.  I figured if I am experiencing something new and a different culture why not try something new with photography!

The shrines were a perfect place to try a stop motion timelapse which is basically taking an image of a subject moving through the frames. I’ve seen this in some other timelapse videos that I use as inspiration (Rob Whitworth videos as an example).  I didn’t plan this but immediately thought of the ideas as we were walking around.  I figured a stationary timelapse would be too generic and tough to set-up since the walkways were pretty small and a tripod would be fairly obstructing or annoying of people walking.

I was with my friends and they were supper helpful and willing to try.  We ended up at the lower base of the mountain on the exit to try this to avoid most of the people.  I ended up using my wide angle lens (that I rented for the trip), Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II, 11-16 mm F2.8 at f/4.0 and ISO 1250 and 1/80 second to prevent any blur.  The shrines were a bit dark in places so I really had to bump up the ISO and open the aperture to keep my shutter speed fairly fast.  I even increased the shutter speed to 1/50 at the end since it got darker while we were doing this.  We ended up doing 172 photos which took us a grand total of 16 minutes so about 10 photos per minute.  We were moving pretty quick once we got going so not too slow at all!

The ground was idea because it had evenly spaced blocks and I had my friends stay 3-4 blocks ahead of me during the sequence.  They would take a step and pause and then I would take a photo.  I moved along with them the entire time as we stepped through a the shrines.  We paused to et people through when they came behind us but it wasn’t too big of a hassle.  We mostly kept our same spots but some of the stutter in the video is when we moved spacing a little bit.

In the end this turned out really well the movement is awesome and the turns and bends in the walk are a neat feature. I did mess up the spacing in a few shots but its not too apparent.  For the future it would be good to create a starting point to the video (the video just starts with the subjects waking in the shrines – they don’t enter anywhere) and just awareness for myself to be more careful about spacing.

Ended up being a great day and then we went to get some Udon noodles for lunch in the town (highly recommended) capped by a trip out to Arashiyama and the bamboo forest.


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