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 Opening flowers? how long? 
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 1:52 am
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Post Opening flowers? how long?
Hi there,

Im completely new to time lapse photography and looking for help if anyone would be so kind as to offer some?

I'm a young film maker still in college and for one of my final pieces i want to shoot a flower opening. I'm sure this might sound dumb to those of you who are experienced, but i have absolutely no idea how to do this! I simply want to shoot a flower - probably a rose or a lotus flower - on a lack background with studio lighting and i have no idea about the basics of shooting time lapse photography e.g. the actual process of capturing the image. I just need a simple step by step guide? i have access to a canon 5d mk1 a canon 450d and a sony z1e to shoot and am willing to try anything, ive done lots of snooping around but all i can see is how to edit and render in AE not how to actually shoot! i have even rang florists to ask how long a lot flower takes to open and they thought i was crazy! i just need to know three things, how to set up my camera, how long to take the photos for, and how to keep power to the camera for that amount of time (my dad once tried a long exposure and the battery ran out and all was lost, id rather not have that happen)

any help would be much appreciated,

man thanks

Orrell02


Mon May 10, 2010 2:11 am
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Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 3:30 am
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Location: Sydney, Australia
Post Re: First timer here guys
Roses can be difficult to shoot.

Do you have an intervalometer for any of your cameras ... that is a start.

Try some cut lilies from a florist, purchase a bunch that contain a few that are closed and see how long on average they take to fully open to your requirements, to get an idea how long the process will take. You should secure the stems in florists 'foam' to stop them moving about.
They can take anything from a few days to a week or so to open depending on type and temperature.

You will also need to light them with a constant light source in a quiet space.(No air currents to disturb the petals).
Look at some favourite photos of flowers and try to duplicate the lighting.

Concerning power you should look at purchasing a mains adaptor, or carefully swap batteries between intervals. (Don't bump the camera otherwise your frame will move :oops: )
If that's not possible read up on the posts in the POWER sub forum.

Good shooting


Mon May 10, 2010 3:17 am
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Post Re: First timer here guys
This timelapse tutorial should get you going ..................
http://www.haworth-village.org.uk/natur ... -lapse.asp
best of luck

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Mon May 10, 2010 6:21 am
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Post Re: First timer here guys
Different flowers take different amounts of time to open and different flowers open at different times of the day. It helps to know your plant. The lillies like easter lillies only open at night. Its a pain if you don't know that ahead of time. Flowers that only open at night can be recorded using strobes for lighting because they won't effect the plant. Hibiscus flowers open at dawn and take less than an hour to open. A desert rose takes a week to open. Regular roses don't take that long, but they take a long time compared to most flowers.

Guess how long the event you want to record will take to happen, then decide how long you want it to take in the timelapse film. Take the number of seconds you want the timelapse film to run and multiply by 30 frames per second to get the number of frames in the timelapse movie. Now divide the amount of time you think the event (flower opening) to take by the number of frames to get the amount of time that must elapse between exposing the next frame. Set your intervalometer to this amount of time for the interframe interval.

Test your camera setup on something that will happen quickly before committing to a long project. A bowl of ice cubes will melt in a couple of hours depending on the temperature and size of the bowl. Once you know your setup is doing exactly what you want, start the timelapse of the flowers.

Lots of programs let you combine the still pictures into a movie. I have used moviesalsa for years, I think their website is imagesalsa.com but there lots of others to choose from.


Mon May 10, 2010 6:34 am
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 1:52 am
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Post Re: First timer here guys
Thank you so much for the help guys, so can anyone recommend the best type of flower? i need one that will take around a day or less?

and what's an intervalometer? i heard that you can hook the 5d up to a computer to time the intervals, does anyone know anything about this?

thanks again!


Wed May 12, 2010 8:46 am
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Post Re: First timer here guys
Orrell02 wrote:
and what's an intervalometer?


:shock: EPIC post :lol:


Wed May 12, 2010 9:38 am
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Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:54 pm
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Post Re: First timer here guys
Here's a post that should provide some answers:

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1871

As noted in another thread, we need to make this easier to find.

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Wed May 12, 2010 5:40 pm
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Post Re: First timer here guys
Orrell02 wrote:
and what's an intervalometer?


........http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intervalometer :roll:

Try a Morning Lily. They normally take several hours to open to light.
If you wanted a 6 second shot (180 frames @30fps playback), and the lily took 3 hours (180 min.) to open, then your interval would be 1 minute between frames.

The 5D2 comes with instructions and software to instruct you how to set up the intervalometer function on a computer under Remote Capture if my memory is correct.


Wed May 12, 2010 6:50 pm
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Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:59 pm
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Post Re: Opening flowers? how long?
I recently did this at 7 second intervals... http://www.flickr.com/photos/38729492@N02/4664418228/


Fri Jun 04, 2010 7:12 pm
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