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!
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.
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!
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.
Overall 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Thanks for reading! Please let me know if you have any questions!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
Yesterday afternoon the weather was beautiful and the sun was out with nice temperatures! I decided to drive out to Sandy Hook, NJ to take sunset photos of the Officers’ Row at Fort Hancock in Sandy Hook National Park. The clouds were a bit hazy but still clear enough to see the sun.
I set up my tripod in a spot where the sun was setting behind the houses with a good angle. I wanted to sun to be in view the entire time while in-between the houses. I used the TPE app to get the correct sun positioning for location.
I ended up using my 18-55 mm kit lens (F3.5-F5.6) at 22 mm and ISO 500 with f/13. My first photo was at 1/100 seconds. I used a 12 second interval since I was planning to be there a little over an hour. Tip: have a blanket as the sun goes down it gets a lot colder!
The sun was awesome and my shutter speed was adjusted. I usually change the shutter speed every 10-20 photos to keep some consistency in the exposure. I took 352 photos with my last shot at an 8 second shutter speed with the same ISO and f stop settings.
The video turned out really nice. The sky didn’t really turn that red or pink but there was still some nice color. The spot also has the moon on the other side with lots of planes going by so I might come to this location later in the year again!
Thanks for reading!
Yesterday evening I drove to Easton PA to take some pictures of the Northampton St. Bridge. I had been waiting to take photos of this bridge for a few weeks but the weather hasn’t really been inspiring. The bridge sits on the Delaware River in-between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The weather has been awful all week and the sky was finally starting to clear early in the afternoon so I was hoping for a nice sunset. The clouds in Easton PA were still pretty heavy so there wasn’t too much of color but still provided some nice movement.
I decided to use my Syrp GenieMini for the shot to provide a panning motion. I used 18 degrees of motion for a 15 second video over 1 hour with my interval set at 8 seconds. I used manual exposure at f/11 and ISO 640 with my 28 mm f/2.8 lens. My first shot was at 1/20 seconds and my last shot was at 5 seconds exposure. I like to ramp my exposure for the day to night transitions to make sure the sky is exposed correctly.
The sunset didn’t really happen but the day to night transition of the bridge was really cool especially with the reflections on the water. The panning motion is also a good touch to the video I think moving across the river.
Last evening I drove to Liberty State Park again in Jersey City to take a timelapse of the Manhattan Skyline. Yesterday evening was Earth Hour which is an hour each year where cities and buildings turn off lights to conserve energy. Check out the site: https://www.earthhour.org/
I was hoping the NYC skyline would have a dramatic difference at 830! Win for the environment and my timelapsing! I started shooting about 815 PM with a 5 second interval. I wasn’t necessarily planning on staying long, just enough for a 15-20 second video with a cool before and after.
My other settings were ISO 500 and a 2 second shutter speed with f/8.0 in Manual exposure. I was using my 18-55mm Kit Lens at 34 mm with my Nikon D7100.
The sky was very gloomy since it was raining lightly most of the day but at least the skyline was still visible.
Once 830 hit a few buildings turned off their lights and you can see in the video but the WTC and the other main buildings didn’t. The Empire State building did though which was out of this scene further midtown. Hopefully next year there will be more participation! I always enjoy shooting NYC though, I still think its beautiful even with a gloomy sky. Thanks for reading!