Time-Lapse Photography

My current camera of choice is a Canon Rebel XS — mainly because it’s all I have available at the moment. My external intervalometer is a Vello ShutterBoss (model RC-C1) — a little on the cheap/flimsy side, but it has served me well so far.

I typically shoot high-quality JPEG with all the camera settings locked down to match the subject. The images come in at 3888×2592, or a hair over 10 megapixels. The image sequence is imported into QuickTime 7 (yes, some of us still use it) where it is then re-exported — in its full, native resolution — as a single video file.

Headlights Shining on Ceiling

I was in Lower Manhattan in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy struck. As a result, my entire neighborhood lost power for about four days. On the second dark night, after the initial thrill had worn off, I set up my camera to shoot the interesting patterns that the passing cars’ headlights created.

I let the camera run until its battery drained completely. I “flew by the seat of my pants,” as they say, having no idea what I had until I was able to view the final video. An interesting experiment. This was also the shoot that made me painfully aware of how many “hot” pixels my camera’s sensor has.

Pills and Candies Dissolving

I set up a time-lapse rig in my kitchen to capture images of various things I had lying around as they dissolved in hot water.

That last one was a joke.

iPhone 3G as a Time-Lapse Camera

For a time, I had an old iPhone 3G pointing out the window of my apartment. It was running InterCam and uploading images from the built-in camera to an FTP server I was running on my desktop computer. The setup ultimately proved infeasible for any sort of long-term usage, due to the crashiness of the app, the not-quite-reliable nature of the WiFi connection, and the fact that FTP servers reeeeally don’t like having tens of thousands of files pile up in a single directory.

I’m half-seriously considering repeating these experiments with my old yet somewhat-more-reliable iPhone 4.

Road Trip to California, as Seen by Google Street View

Technically, I did not take any of these pictures. But using a log of GPS coordinates from a road trip a friend and I took to California, I was able to programmatically scrape the Google Maps Street View tiles and construct a time-lapse video of our journey.

The technical details of this video are explained in excruciating detail here.