Yesterday evening I drove to Sandy Hook, NJ to take a sunset timelapse of the Twin Peaks Lighthouses. The lighthouses overlook the Sandy Hook area and the sun was setting behind the lighthouse so I thought it was a good chance to get a pretty cool timelapse.
The sun was covered by high clouds so I was optimistic of some good sunset colors. I got there about 345 pm (for a 4:41 PM sunset). I set my interval at 10 seconds and used my 55-300 mm lens. I was debating how close to get to the lighthouse, I decided for some perspective for the light since I was hoping the lighthouse would be more apparent as it darkened outside. My final focal length was 72 mm. My first shots were at f/22 and ISO 100 with a shutter speed of 1/100 seconds.
The sun set behind the light house which was pretty cool and then the light was going off and on. I was hoping it would be more of a rotating light but it was still pretty cool to see it turn on and become lighter.
The sunset didn’t really turn out that great but I still stayed through for the day to night timelapse. My last shot was at 4 second shutter speed, with ISO 500 and f/11. I usually ramp up the ISO to 400 and aperture to f/11 to keep everything sharp at the end of the shot. If apertures get below f/10 it may become apparent that depth of field sharpness is becoming shallower. I ended up staying until 530 pm, about 40-45 minutes after sunset so that it gets dark.
Overall the video turned out really nice, I would like to go back another day for a closer shot too since this is a pretty nice and quiet area for timelapses!
Last weekend I drove to the Appalachian Trail to explore the fall colors of New Jersey. I went to the Stairway to Heaven Trail, the Boardwalk Trail, and High Point State Park. All spots were awesome. My first one was the Stairway to Heaven Trail where I spotted a cool composition of a hillside landscape.
For this video I ended up shooting only 10 seconds of video with a ISO 100, 1/25 sec, f/22 with my 28 mm f/2.8 lens. I was using a 2 second interval since it was pretty windy and the clouds and shadows were moving fairly quickly.
The next location was the Appalachian Trail Boardwalk which was only about 10 minutes away. I was walking around for a bit looking for a good spot but didn’t find anything too appealing so I decided to do a hyperlapse on the boardwalk. For this hyperlapse I was shooting at 1/400 seconds since I was doing a handheld hyperlapse. I took a photo every single plank and moved down the boardwalk. I focused on the tree on the right side of the image every photo to maintain a steady shot in editing. I came up with 310 photos surprisingly which also makes editing easier!
Afterwards I went to High Point State Park, the leaves in the area were awesome colors and I wanted a nice viewpoint of the hillsides and landscape! High Point State Park is the highest point in New Jersey so that was perfect!
My timelapse video was using the Syrp Genie Mini for a nice panning timelapse. I wanted to capture movement in the landscape with the shadows on the hills. I used a 2.5 second interval for rotating near 15 degrees. My settings were f/13, 1/400, and ISO 40. I wanted to capture the movement without too much wind impact!
My last location was at High Point State Park again but at the lake overlooking the monument. The trees, waters, and clouds set a perfect scene here. For this shot I decided to us a ND filter to slow the shutter speed which smoothed out the water. I was at a 3 second shutter speed with ISO 400 and f/13. My interval was 5 seconds to allow buffering time for the photos.
Overall pretty good day with 4 videos and awesome locations that capture the fall beauty of northern New Jersey!
This weekend I went to Jersey City, NJ at Exchange Place to shoot a sunrise timelapse. Jersey City has some great views of the Manhattan Skyline, especially during sunrise as the sun comes over the skyline.
I started shooting my timelapse at 530 AM (about one hour before sunrise). The mood was pretty foggy which I thought might lead to some nice colors but what happened was surprising!
The fog was clearing and coming back the entire morning and staying in the city which was weird!
I was using my 28 mm f/2.8 lens in manual exposure. I set my interval to 11 seconds. My first shots were at ISO 500, 6 second shutter speed and f/11. I gradually decreased my ISO, then shutter speed and aperture during the course of the shoot. I ended up at ISO 100, 1/40 seconds, and f/22.
I ended up staying until 830 AM which was about a three hour shoot since the clouds were so majestic. The clouds were moving through the city and the sun even started to peak through the skyline!
After the sun started rising with the clouds and skyline it even formed a shadow with the World Trade Center which I never could have imagined seeing! I tried to capture it with my phone below.
Overall this turned out to be a pretty nice timelapse with the city and clouds! Glad I woke up early for the shoot and stayed for the three hour and 800 + photos!
Yesterday evening I drove to Jersey City, NJ to take a timelapse. I was planning on taking a timelapse of the Colgate clock which is right across from Liberty State Park. However, I only had my 28 mm lens f/2,8 and this wasn’t wide enough to get a nice composition without looking too cluttered.
I walked around for a bit looking for a shot and found a pier which started to have some nice reflections of the sun as it set across the river.
Since the sun sets pretty fast, I used an interval of 3 seconds to get the sun moving across the buildings. I was not planning staying through darkness because I had to catch a ferry at 755 PM to get home but I still had plenty of time for a nice timelapse.
My first shits were at ISO 500, f/9.0, 1/300 seconds. I took about 700 photos in close to 30 minutes. My last shot was at 1/60. The lights had just started to turn on in the skyline I really liked the reflection of the sun on the buildings and water and perhaps another nice composition in the future is the water reflection. Also zooming into the buildings or WTC might be a good idea in the future!
Thanks for reading!
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!