Independence Hall – Hyperlapse

This Friday I went to Philadelphia for a short day trip.  We stopped near Independence Hall so I decided to take a timelapse…of course!  I was debating a long exposure timelapse with the crowds and cars but I thought this was a pretty standard shot.  I instead decided to do a hyperlapse from left to right of Independence Hall.  The ground had evenly spaced bricks so it was pretty easy to do. DSC_5278

My settings for the camera are pretty important during a hyperlapse, especially when doing it hand-held (without a tripod).  I was using manual exposure 1/500 sec, f/10, and ISO 800.  I typically prefer to use fast shutter speeds doing it manual to prevent camera shake and blurriness.  The 1/250 or 1/500 shutter speed is perfect for this type of shot.

After shooting about 275 photos. I merged them all into Adobe After Effects with Warp Stabilizer.  The smoothing worked perfectly since the shots were really close together (little movement between each).  The longer movements between shots create more camera shake and may require manual stabilization.

Thanks for reading!

Brian

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Asbury Park, New Jersey, Sunrise Timelapse

This morning I drove to Asbury Park Beach in New Jersey to shoot a sunrise timelapse.  I woke up at 4AM to make it for the 6 AM sunrise.  I love waking up early to see a sunrise its a perfect way to get your day started.  I had scoped out a spot online where there a pier angled towards the sun.

When I got there the fog was pretty bad, even so driving towards the beach.  The forecast for the day was clear and sunny so I was optimistic it would clear up as the sun started to show itself.  And I was right!

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Shooting a sunrise is a little bit difficult in my opinion, even more so a beach sunrise.  I still struggle with determining the ideal shutter speed for a beach with the right interval.  The long intervals make the waves looks way to fast.  A slow shutter speed is ideal however it’s difficult to achieve a slow shutter speed once the sun comes up without a filter.

For this shot, I was going to try to ramp ISO and aperture while keeping shutter speed constant once I got to 1/1.3 seconds.  I wanted to target around 1 seconds for my shutter speed.  My first shots were at f/10, ISO 640, 6 seconds with my 28 mm f/2.8 prime lens.  The 6 second shutter speed below really softens the water and waves.

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I first started changing the shutter speed.  The shutter speeds change real quick in a sunrise shot! I ended up going to 1/1.3 seconds with the same f/10 and ISO 640.  Once I had to change my exposure again then I changed the ISO down slowly until ISO 100.  Once the sun started peaking through the fog it was an amazing sight!

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I continued adjusting my aperture until f/22 with ISO 100 and shutter speed 1/1.3 seconds.  After that, I had to change my shutter speed to 1/30 seconds at the end of the video.

I think a better shot might have been tighter on the sun which would have fewer issues with waves but its tough to predict how the sun will rise.

I also had a bit of problem with condensation on my lens randomly in the middle of the video.  My lens filter fogged up pretty much when the sun started to peak through.  I was able to resolve it right away with a cloth only after a few shots.  But its a good lesson learned to make sure your equipment is ok as temperature might change.

DSC_4980Overall this video turned out pretty nice! I think I like a 1-2 second exposure instead and will try that next time at a beach.  A composition that avoids all the waves might also be preferred.  I might want to try my variable ND filter too so that I can keep a constant shutter speed! I need more practice with these beach shots for sure.

Thanks for reading!

Brian

Empire State Building and American Copper Building Timelapse

This past weekend I drove to Brooklyn to take a timelapse video of the American Copper Buildings and Empire State Building from Hunter’s Point South Park.

I had been planning on this site because of the American Copper Buildings.  The two buildings are connected and I thought the sun peeking through the buildings during sunset would be a cool timelapse.

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I got there about 630-645 and started shooting a timelapse with a 18 second interval.  Since I was pretty much staring right at the sun, I could use a f/14, ISO 320.  My shutter speed varied from 1/1250 second to 8 seconds at the end of the shot which I finished about 845 pm.

The shoot was a bit more challenging than normal because of the drastic light changes with the clouds in the beginning.  I had to change my shutter speed from 1/250 to 1/1250 within a shot or two because of the sun moving through the clouds.

This might have been better with an aperture priority mode but my camera generally overexposes once the sun goes down so I prefer to shoot in manual.

20170805_191534 I ended up with about 40 seconds of video in the end that turned out really great even with the light changes from the clouds.  Too bad the clouds went away during sunset though, they would have provided some nice color!

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Thanks for reading

Brian

Top 5 Tips for Shooting a Hot Air Balloon Festival

Last week the Quick Chek New Jersey Balloon Festival was in town.  This is one the largest hot air balloon festivals in the country with over 100 balloons launching.  I went two of the three days (the second day was bad weather so there were no launches).  My timelapse compilation is above from the festival in 4K.  I thought it would be a good idea to list my top 5 tips for shooting a hot air balloon festival since its harder than you would think

Watch the first balloon – The first balloon launches about five minutes ahead of all the other balloons.  The balloons don’t have any mechanism to steer other than the wind!  So watching the first balloon go off will give you an idea of where all the other balloons will be headed.  This is a key amount of time to scope the area and find a good location if you want a shot with all the balloons.

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Go early – the launches are early in the morning (6 am) or later in the evening.  The morning launches have a nice calm feel but there will still be plenty of people there! So don’t plan on arriving right a 6 AM because it might take a while to get parking.  The evening launches will have a much more crowded and festival feeling so plan on going even earlier.

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Find a spot behind strollers – Once the balloons start inflating and taking off people will stand up and take photos for a long time with their phones or cameras.  They won’t care what’s behind them.  You have to either be in a perfect or elevated position or like my tip says be behind some strollers.  This is a good spot because no one can stand there and if a kid stands up it wont be taller than your tripod!  Definitely do not stand behind of people sitting on chairs or blankets.

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Use a fast (1 second) interval – The balloons will move faster than you think, I used a 2 second interval my first day and realized a one second interval would give a much better result with the amount of movement you want to see.

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Ask where the balloons will inflate – the balloons can also inflate rather quick and if you don’t know where which balloons will inflate it might be a surprise.  I would recommend asking around to see if people know where the cool (bees, flags, angry birds, etc.) balloons will inflate.  It’s tough to react with a lot of balloons and people if you want to shoot a specific balloon.  It could be inflated and off in the air before you know it!

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Thanks for reading! Please let me know if you have any questions!

Brian

 

 

Tarrytown Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse Sunset

This past weekend I drove out to Tarrytown (Sleepy Hollow) New York which is right on the Hudson River near the Tappan Zee Bridge.  The lighthouse overlooks the Hudson River, north of New York City.  I was going to shoot sunset since the sun is setting behind the Hudson River in the summer.

20170729_195422The lighthouse was open at Kingsland Park which has easy access to the waterfront.  After about a ten minute walk you arrive at the little lighthouse which sits on an island with a bridge to access.

I set up my tripod with a good angle for a leading line with the bridge and then I was going to let the sun set on the horizon on the right hand side of the photo.  The sun was initially behind the lighthouse when I started.  I was hoping to have the sun peak through during the video and then set on the horizon.

Tarrytown Lighthouse-1As the sun set, I changed my shutter speed. I was using manual exposure, auto white balance, at f/11, ISO 400 with my 28 mm f/2.8 prime lens.  My initial shutter speed was 1/200 seconds and I ended at 5 seconds with 594 total phots at 8 second intervals.  The color in the sky turned a great orange / pink / purple color as the sun set.  The colors were awesome all around too.  See below for the Tappan Zee Bridge!

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Overall this turned out really nice!  I would definitely recommend this spot for a nice afternoon trip!

Tarrytown Lighthouse-414Thanks for reading!

Brian

Historic Smithville Park – New Jersey

Yesterday afternoon I drove to historic Smithville Park in New Jersey near Trenton.  The park is a nice and relaxing place for a hike that used to be part of the underground railroad.  I took some time to walk around the park and found a pretty nice pond with lots of lilies and a bridge trail.

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I decided to do a hyperlapse of the pond through the bridge focusing on an overlook on the other side of the pond.  I took a step every plank of wood.  The hyperlapse ended being close to 300 photos taking a total 16 minutes to shoot.  I had my camera in manual exposure with 1/320 sec (since I was shooting hand-held), f /10, ISO 500 with my 28 mm f/2.8 prime lens.

The hyperlapse turned out pretty smooth with the pond.  I was debating the composition the entire time since I am not too big a fan of the wide shots unless there’s a clear subject in the scene but this is what I had to work with since the day was pretty overcast and not much else in the area.

Overall a pretty nice walk and cool area, definitely worth a visit in the fall when the leaves turn colors during a sunset!

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Manasquan Reservoir Sunset

Yesterday evening I drove to the Manasquan Reservoir in New Jersey.  This spot had been on my go-to list for a while now and I was hoping for a nice sunset.  The scene ws epic as I walked up to the lake with a Great Heron posing right in front of the sun for me.  The bird was looking for food and enjoying the sunset!

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I quickly set up my tripod and camera while trying to be as noise free as possible.  I had to use my 55-300 mm zoom lens to get a closer view of the bird.  The reflections on the water were amazing (bird included).  I set my interval for 6 seconds since I knew the bird might fly away at any point.  Typically I use an interval of 10 seconds for a sunset but I was not planning on staying for a day-to-night timelapse so faster is better.  Retrospectively even 4-5 seconds would have still worked!

Manasquan Reservoir Bird

I was shooting in manual exposure at 78 mm, ISO 800, and started with 1/200 at f/11.  I bumped up my ISO a bit to get a faster exposure so the bird didn’t come off as blurry in the timelapse.  At 6 second intervals I ended up shooting neat 280 photos ending at 1/13 second exposure.  The bird went away as the sun started to finally go down but I got it in a few seconds of video.  I edited the video with Adobe Lightroom and LRTimelapse since I was changing shutter speed during the sequence.

Overall, this was a really cool and peaceful area.  I will definitely go back in the future to explore a bit more!