Beach timelapses – The toughest timelapse to take?

Where is the toughest timelapse to take?  A beach….

Last weekend I went to Belmar NJ to take a timelapse of the beach at sunset.  I was also planning to take a drone timelapse but it was too windy.  The weather was a bit cold and very windy which meant pretty rough water.  I’ve always struggled to take timelapses of waves because they move so fast and are unpredictable.

Two things matter in timelapses for how fast the video looks: shutter speed and interval.

I tried to take two different types of timelapses and even with those two I still don’t feel like I got the best combination of shutter speed and interval.

Timelapse #1 Slow Shutter Speed (4 seconds) – Shutter Priority

The first type of timelapse I tried was a slower shutter speed.  I thought a slower shutter speed would smooth out the water and make it less “choppy”.  I put the camera in shutter priority while using an ND filter.  I set the shutter speed to 4 seconds with an 8 second interval.  The individual photos were pretty neat, super smooth water and pretty colors.  However when put on video, I still feel like it looked pretty choppy.

Belmar Sunset Long-1128

Timelapse #2 – Short Shutter Speed – Short Interval

The next one I tried was a 2 second interval and short shutter speed near ~1/6 seconds.  I was hoping this would catch the individual waves moving along the water.  I was also past sunset at this point so it was getting darker and darker so I was adjusting my aperture open to let more light in.  I thought this had a nice composition but ended up looking worst because it looks much more choppy and sporadic.

I thought the individual photos here looked a bit better with the ~1 second shutter speed because you can see more movement in the water.  However, this doesn’t work well with the 2 second interval.

Belmar Sunset Short-1000

So what will I try next?

I think the next sequence to try is even a faster shutter speed and 0.5 or 1 second interval.  Stay tuned for another attempt soon!

Thanks for reading


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