Timescapes - Digital Timelapse Discussion

Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity
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Author:  sciencelookers [ Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity

Every summer these huge sea turtles emerge from the surf, haul themselves slowly up the beach and lay their eggs in nests they dig in the sand. We have loggerheads, leatherbacks and green turtles. The peak of nesting occurs at the end of June and beginning of July, but some nesting occurs throughout June and into August. The full moon will occur on July 2 or 3, and good light should prevail from about 10 days before to five days after the full moon. This year the full moon should coincide with the peak of nesting, when the most turtles are expected per night. South Brevard County has more nests per mile of beach than anywhere on the east coast of the United States. We also have one of the lowest population densities and darkest skies in this part of Florida. The parks service is using DSLRs to record the turtles activity with timelapse astrophotography techniques pioneered by Tom Lowe, Colin Legg and other Timescapes members. Anyone who wants to shoot some night timelapse of sea turtles could benefit by joining up. If you are doing a documentary about turtles, collecting interesting stock footage, or are an amateur night timelapser with an interest, PM me and we can talk about next Summer.

We can get access through private beach access points which are not available to the general public. This gives us access to the beaches least disturbed by people. At times, parks people can accompany shooters who wish to set up tripods on the sand, which is normally prohibited. You will be instructed how to work without disturbing the turtles (and thereby altering the very thing you came to record). There will be oportunities to film the laying of eggs closeup under supervision, so nobody gets arrested, which can happen if you don't have a park ranger with you. Most of the beach access points have dune crossovers, which are like little footbridges that go over the dune vegitation. These make an excellent elevated position for filming activity on the beach. There may be a place for one or two to stay during the shoot, otherwise, there are some rentals nearby. You can shoot whatever hours you want, but I tend to shoot from 9PM to about 5AM, then sleep until early afternoon and edit the stills into video every afternoon so I don't generate a big backlog of work to be done later.

Its not a job, but it can be an adventure.

Author:  Jack Ripper [ Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity

That sounds pretty cool man, I probably wouldn't be able to make it but that sounds like a cool experience!

Author:  Kitwn [ Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity

We're just getting into the turtle season here in Exmouth, Western Australia. Having seen the 'color night vision' examples a while back I'm having a go myself. Got the frames for a test sequence on Sunday night but have yet to sort out the best post workflow for noise reduction. I'll post the results when I have a finished sequence.

No problem with other people around here at this time of year. All the tourists have gone back to Perth to escape the heat. 42 degrees yesterday, and it's still spring!

I plan to get out again in the nights before next full moon as that's when the moon is high in the sky a little earlier in the night (some of us have to go to work the next morning!).

Using a Sony Alpha 350, Adobe Premiere Elements v7, Photoshop Elements v7 and Noise Ninja. Not expecting Sciencelooker quality but should be fun anyway.


Author:  sciencelookers [ Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity

Thanks for the interest. I'm still hoping you can make it Jack. I'd love to get a close look at Chronos and Zeus in action.

Kit, scheduling a different summer was a great idea. Sure wish I had thought of that. let me know what you learn about reducing noise in post. So far, I've concentrated on shooting. I've been shooting large file JPEGs so I can shoot all night on a 64GB card. It gets assembled into a movie in Aftereffects and edited in Premiere at 1080 HDV resolution. Shooting before the full moon is definitely best. After full moon, the moon rises later each night, leaving everything in darkness until moonrise. I've found its best a week or so before full moon until about four or five days after. Even if you shoot all night, there seem to be more turtles in the first half of the night than in the last half. Post some of your results. I'm interested to see how it turns out.

Author:  blakestimelapse [ Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity

sciencelookers i have been really looking for opportunity to take a time lapse of anything but i dont have much experience and im only 16. i also live right by hollywood beach so i think im kinda close but not sure just email me at bmalmborg@aol.com thanks !

Author:  sciencelookers [ Sat Dec 03, 2011 3:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity

Its impressive that someone your age has an interest in such a complicated hobby. Brevard County is about a 3 hour drive North from where you are. John U LLoyd park is just at the North end of Hollywood Beach, just before you get to Port Everglades. Thats real close. It costs $3 to park your car there. Every Wed and Fri in June and July at 9PM, they throw in a turtle lecture, and someone walks the beach looking for a non-endangered species which they lead you to after the talking part. They won't let you shine photo lights on it, but they will probably have a red flashlight that they will shine on the eggs as they are laid in a hole the turtle digs. I have found the light is bright enough to record video as long as you don't mind it looking red. The fishing pier just South of the park might allow you to get some shots of turtles climbing the beach from a perspective I can't get from the dune crossovers. You can look straight up the length of the beach or even look back at the beach from just beyond the surf. Any turtles close to the pier can be photographed from almost directly overhead. That would be a very cool angle. The beginning of the jetty at the port entrance or anywhere along the beach in John U Lloyd park should also be good places. If you can find a picnic table right at the beach, you can get some extra elevation by setting up your tripod on the table.

Night timelapse is not the easiest. I'm not sure I'd try that as my first attempt. Why not do a couple of daytime shots right where you live to get the hang of it? Clouds or traffic make interesting subjects that take very little time to shoot. Focus is difficult in the dark, and critical with wide aperture lenses. If you visit the shoot site in the daytime, you can put little wedges of white or aluminum tape on the focus ring that correspond to the distance to certain landmarks on the beach. That gets you in the ballpark. Take one picture and use the magnify function to zoom in and decide if actual focus is closer or farther than the turtle. Move focus ever so slightly and repeat until its as good as you can make it. Then turn on the interval timer to start the movie rolling.

I don't want to discourage you. We can accommodate you if you want to come all the way up here, but you can do some interesting things much closer to home. Info for John U LLoyd park turtle walks (954) 923-2833

Author:  blakestimelapse [ Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity

thanks man and yes i have a lil experience in timelapse i have a youtube ( blakestimelapse ) check some of my videos out and im not the best like you or half the people on this website i wish i was as good as all these people and i wish you the best of luck !

Author:  Kitwn [ Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity

I had a bit more trouble with processing the original RAW images for my turtle nesting trial timelapse than expected. I decided to use UFRaw in the end. This is a 'free' RAW file processing package which runs on all platforms but is intended for use on Linux which is how I run it. The batch processing works a treat once you remind yourself how to drive software from the command line. That's where much of the delay was, it's been a while for me!

UFRaw processing includes all the usual RAW development options plus the ability to subtract a dark file which is what I was keen to include. That plus it being about 100 times faster than trying to convert 266 RAW images to TIFF files using Photoshop Elements 7 ( you can batch process RAW images in PSE7 but I don't recommend it). I also reduced the pixel count in there as well.

Unfortunately the TIFF output from UFRaw is not recognised by Noise Ninja which is where I was going to go next. PSE has no problem with these files so I'm not sure where the fault lies. In the end I simply batch converted the TIFFs from UFRaw into JPEGs using PSE7 and then imported those into Premiere Elements 7 to make the video. Each frame is shown twice. Doesn't look too bad in spite the lack of further noise reduction.

This Thursday onward sees moon, tide and on-call rota conditions right for another shoot so I hope to have some better results next weekend.

Sony A350, 16-105 zoom lens, 10 sec exposures at 20 sec intervals, ISO 3200. Exposure was then pushed another 1.6 stops in UFRaw.

The only light source was the moon. All activities were conducted in accordance with the local guidelines given for observing turtles nesting in WA.


Author:  sciencelookers [ Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity

That clip looks beautiful. If you don't tell people it was shot at night, they'll assume it was daytime. This really shows how much sand these things move. Nice they let you set up a tripod right on the sand there. I love the way you can really see it digging through the sea oats when this is viewed from a position seaward of the turtle.

Author:  Kitwn [ Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity

Another full moon came and went. I managed to get out on Thursday for 3 hours before the curfew time of 11pm by which all people are requested to be off the beaches to leave the turtles completely undisturbed for the rest of the night.
This time I went to a diferent beach and set up in a dip in the sand on the edge of the dunes and tried to blend into the long grass.

The results are a bit dissapointing, each shot is far too short as I was trying to zoom in for a clear image but was only taking 4 frames per minute so the turtles apear to race accross the screen in no time! I was probably not patient enough either.

I've ordered a 50mm f1.8 prime lens, which is a 3 stop improvement from my 16-105 zoom at 50mm, to reduce the required exposure from 10 seconds to 1 or 2. This should allow a frame rate of about 15-20/minute which will be a great improvement.

This time I simply converted from RAW direct to JPEG in UFRaw, using a little noise reduction and subtracting a dark frame taken at the end of the shoot.

Author:  Kitwn [ Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity

The new lens arrived and another full moon approached. I've put the results in a new thread called 'Ningaloo Turtle Nesting' in the 'showcase' section.

Went out at 4am this morning to see if we could spot any hatchlings emerging. Now we're well past full moon the moon is high in the sky at that time. Apparently the turtles hatch and then wait just below the surface until the sand is cold (how else do you tell it's nighttime from down there?) before emerging, hence the choice of time. No luck I'm afraid. Maybe next time.

Author:  sciencelookers [ Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity

I saw the new video. Great work Kit!. Wishing you good hunting on those hatchlings. Let me know if you get any good results. I have been trying to get some video of hatchlings for two years with very little to show for it. Its true that they wait just below the surface, then emerge all at once. The whole thing is over in a couple of minutes.

One time some people were partying on the beach. They made a lot of noise and then left. The next day I found the hatchling tracks in an area one of my cameras recorded all night. On the video I can see a faint dark cloud of something emerge and flow to the sea right after the partiers left. I think the turtles heard them and actually waited until no one was around before making a break for it.

Another time I encountered hatchlings emerging right by the edge of the dune. I ran about 100 meters to get my camcorder and by the time I got back there all but one straggler had already made it to the water. Be quiet, be stealthy. Hope you get something good.

Author:  Zigmo [ Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity

I'm interested! I will be coming from St Thomas USVI so I'll have to plan this way ahead. To confirm you will be meeting to shoot on July 2nd and 3rd?

Author:  sciencelookers [ Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity

I actually plan to shoot for about ten days centered around the full moon on July 2 . Thats when the light should be brightest. I'll probably start around June 23 or so and continue until about July 8. Turtles usually start showing up around mid June, they peak around the end of June and beginning of July, some continue into August but much less frequently. The last week in June and the first week in July should be the best. I can possibly arrange a place to stay right near the beach if you don't mind fairly primitive accommodations. There are also nearby rentals if you prefer some privacy and a nicer room. (let me know if you want a list of hotels) I tend to stay up all night and sleep in the daytime when I'm on "turtle time", so the room is just a dark place to sleep before getting up and doing it all over again. Email me with any specific questions. Sciencelookers@aol.com

Author:  R_Lai [ Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity

Hello, is this opportunity open still? I would like to be part of it. I am new to time lapse, and i would like to add it to my portfolio. Also I would like to bring one or two my fellow photography classmates.


Author:  sciencelookers [ Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity

Yes, it is still open. Turtles start arriving here in mid June. The peak numbers occur at the end of June and beginning of July. The full moon occurs on July 3, so the best light is from a week before to about four days after. A couple of other people are in line for the available rooms, but there are rentals nearby. There will also be enough space for your tent, caravan or winnabago and probably sofa space for sleeping. Free rooms might still open up if someone decides not to come. We will be using beaches at the very south end of Brevard county. Mostly from the Sebastian inlet going north for about ten miles. The barrier Island center is on the beach about two miles north of Sebastian inlet. Ray Mojica is our contact with the parks department. The place I will be staying is one mile north of the barrier island center. Ray has permissions from owners of some beach houses for us to use their beach access at various points along the coast. Most of us sleep until early afternoon because we shoot all night. We can meet in the afternoons to argue over who gets which beach house and show off our shots if desired.

James Schubert

Author:  sciencelookers [ Tue May 15, 2012 7:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity

Don Rex has found the first turtle nest of the season. We expect occasional nesting until mid-June, when they start coming in larger numbers. Last year it was possible to view turtles mating in the water just off the beach during most of June. The turtles only climb the beach to nest at night. The peak in nests per night is at the end of June and beginning of July, which coincides with the full moon this year. Several Timescapes members have decided to come around that time. Anyone else who would like to come should contact me as soon as possible, so we can make sure accommodations are available for everyone.

Author:  sciencelookers [ Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Sea Turtle Expedition oportunity

Expedition 2012 is a real blast. Wish you were here. Maybe you can come next Summer. Here's a 5 minute short from this year "Night of the Sea Turtles" in case you haven't seen it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-6W-0LP ... e=youtu.be

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