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 How to capture changing seasons in time-lapse 
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Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 7:34 pm
Posts: 116
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Post How to capture changing seasons in time-lapse
Hi folks,

I've just written a blog post about capturing transitions between seasons with long term time-lapse (check it out at While writing the post, I found that there really aren't tons of time-lapses capturing changes in season, though it seems to be an excellent application of the art form. As far I can tell, there are a number of ways of doing it: leaving your camera in one place for months or returning to exactly the same place many times. The latter has been made famous by BBC and discovery, but there doesn't seem to be heaps of the former happening.

So, I'd love to know if you have tried (or succeeded!) capturing changes in seasons. What's worked and what hasn't? What's stopped you trying?

Looking forward to reading the responses.


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Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:59 pm
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Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:45 am
Posts: 1685
Location: Merritt Island, Florida, Estates Unitas
Post Re: How to capture changing seasons in time-lapse
I tried a seasons timelapse about 30 years ago with a single frame super-8 camera. I shot several frames per day, and the moving shadows made it difficult to see anything else. Having to wait a year before feedback makes a slow learning curve.

I got back into timelapse with the advent of cheap digital cameras and microcontrollers. I've probably made more seasons timelapse than anyone, having built dozens of little cameras for it. I gave it up when I saw 1080 television and a DSLR timelapse. The image quality of the little point and click cameras I used was so poor, it was obvious there would be no audience for it. Some of them had run over three years by then.

Here's a link to the worlds fastest minute and a half, posted when they only let you put 90 sec of video on the internet and limited file size to the point where you can't see anything. Actually worked "well" with what my crappy cameras recorded. ... ByJ-7qDCcf

Any wood enclosure will breathe by swelling when its humid and shrinking when dry, leading to the kind of camera movement so prevalent there. It happens even if the housing is screwed and glued directly to structural supports like those holding up my screen porch.

If you want to start a seasons timelapse project, and are interested in unpaid or poorly paid interns who would setup and monitor cameras just because they have an enthusiasm for the project, I would definitely be interested.

It became obvious to me that anyone wanting more than 12 sec of footage per year needs multiple cameras. I could afford it with crappy cameras which make a movie thats not worth watching, but good cameras are too expensive for me to deploy in such numbers. Very interested in some variant of your system using some of the new compact cameras which make good pictures for less than a DSLR.

Other stuff for weatherproofing on a budget is elsewhere in my Flickr photostream.

PS. I've seen the "seasons" timelapse they fake for TV by taking one picture in each season and doing a morph or dissolve between them. Don't even call that timelapse or seasons timelapse. It only insults those who have done it for real. They do it because its easier and eliminates all the flicker caused by sunny vs cloudy days and the vibrating leaves effect caused by wind. Its like the beautiful timelapse of growing "forest" plants done indoors without a breath of wind and unnaturally consistent lighting. I get it. Its eye candy meant more for entertainment than discovery. I bet if someone recorded the actual forest they allude these plants are growing in, they'd cut it from the film before it got a chance to air. Too bad though. You never see the sun moving north and south with the seasons, or discover things not expected before shooting the timelapse. I discovered something I never expected in the backgrounds of most of my seasons lapses. It made me really interested in putting out more cameras and discovering more.

Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:19 am
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Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:17 am
Posts: 336
Location: Hindmarsh Valley, South Australia
Post Re: How to capture changing seasons in time-lapse
That looks great sciencelookers. It certainly brings up a lot more challenges with regard to a stable mount for the camera. Thanks for sharing. I started out while at art college using a Bolex 16mm but alas the timelapse had to be done manually unless you had access to mains power for the animation controller they had made. It's too easy now.

Amongst Myselves - ambient, landscape and space music
Canon 5Dm2, 450D, 17-40mm EF f4, 70-300mm L, 50mm f1.8 EF, Custom Intervalometer (UM9 and UM12) and MOCON, Meade LXD75 SN10

Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:18 pm
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