Time-lapse Techniques

A lesson from one of my failed or successful time-lapse video.

Inside Passage of British Columbia and Alaska

Video of Southeast Alaska from the summer of 2014.

Traversing the Inside Passage is like stepping back in time not only with nature but the fascinating cultures that inhabit the coastline of British Columbia and Alaska. Totem poles that have withstood the test of time stand tall with pride in the temperate rainforest representing spirits from the past. A pod of killer whales glide alongside our ship in placid waters of Johnstone Strait and a brown bear feeding in the inner tidal zone in Glacier Bay National Park. A breaching whale, calving glacier, aromatic wildflowers, towering mountains and lush green forests are some of the things the Inside Passage has in store for us.

In a few weeks, I will join enthusiastic guests on the Seattle Docks and then embarking on a journey northward to Sitka, Alaska. An adventure with new friends.

Travel with National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions

Please share. Rich : )

 

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Categories: Adventure, Alaska, Lindblad Expeditions, National Geographic, Natural World, Time-lapse Techniques, Travel, Videos, Wildlife | Leave a comment

2013 Showreel featuring Columbia River, Southeast Alaska and Galapagos Islands with Lindblad Expeditions – National Geographic

 

Video and time-lapse featuring Columbia River, Southeast Alaska and Galapagos Islands aboard Lindblad ExpeditionsNational Geographic ships in 2013.

Originally I planned to create showreels for each destination until I juxtaposed the beautiful underwater Galapagos world with the majestic Alaska glaciers and bears. Somewhat my life metaphor of going from one destination to the next teaching photography to incredible people in the most scenic places in the world working with National Geographic Expeditions.

The Columbia and Snake River Journey is a land of extreme landscapes of canyons, mountains and waterfalls steeped in the rich history of Lewis and Clark and Native American folklore. This Pacific Northwest destination is a series of modern engineering feat including bridges, locks and dams that allow us to transition 425 miles upriver and climb 725 feet above sea level from Astoria, Oregon to Lewiston, Idaho. The jet boat adventure up the Snake River rapids is another highlight filled with spectacular scenery.

Southeast Alaska is one of earth’s gems that contains some of the richest marine life, spectacular fjords and calving tidewater glaciers. This place will continually amaze you regardless of your time spent in this part of the world; feeding brown bears, humpback whales bubble-net feeding and glaciers defining the landscapes. John Muir summarizes it best in his Travels in Alaska,1915, “To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.”

The Galapagos Islands are another gem on this earth that will leave you speechless. Everyday, you experience another creature that defines evolution and environmental adaptability. Tameness is a word often used but nothing can prepare  you for this extraordinary land and sea adventure. Animals approach you without fear and often times indifferent to your presence. From Giant Galapagos Tortoises in the morning to a playful Galapagos Sea Lion in the afternoon. I cannot wait to return to this magical place.

Special thanks to Lindblad ExpeditionsNational Geographic for enabling me to visit these wonderful places with such entertaining guests. I am really looking forward to returning to Southeast Alaska this summer, the Columbia River in the fall, Antarctica over winter and to Arctic next summer. I pinch myself everyday to see if this is a dream.

Humbled by Nature,
Rich Reid

Music:
Stamp’n Go –  iStockphoto®, ©Sporeboy
Flamingo Bay – iStockphoto®, ©bononiasound
Powerful Trailer Music –  iStockphoto®, ©-MUX-

Categories: Adventure, Alaska, National Geographic, Natural World, Time-lapse Techniques, Travel, Videos, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Galapagos Photo Expedition – June 2013

Its been two months since my Galapagos adventure aboard the National Geographic Endeavour and tomorrow I am off to Alaska with National Geographic Expeditions experiencing a much different wildlife among its amazing islands with wonderful guests and crew.

The Galapagos Islands are a land like no other and my two weeks spent with an incredible photo team and knowledgeable guides were truly memorable.   On land the animals are all perfect specimens of evolution and in the water the wildlife approach humans with no fear. This place is magical.

Each week was a well planned itinerary maximizing out time visiting different islands and observing a gamut of wildlife. Some of the more remarkable underwater encounters included  swimming with the green sea turtle at Punta Vicente Roca on Fernandina Island and the playful Galapagos sea lions at most of our snorkeling destinations.

Galapagos land iguana, Conolophus subsristatus introduced on North Seymour Island in the Galapagos Islands National Park and Marine Reserve, Ecuador. Reintroduced back to an extinct population on neighboring Baltra Island.

Galapagos land iguana, Conolophus subsristatus introduced on North Seymour Island in the Galapagos Islands National Park and Marine Reserve, Ecuador. Reintroduced back to an extinct population on neighboring Baltra Island.

The iconic land animals include the large colorful Land Iguanas and the highlight of spending time with the Santa Cruz Galapagos tortoise in their natural setting in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island.

Please join me for the next Galapagos Photo Expedition on October 25 and November 1, 2013.

Special thanks to National Geographic and Lindbland Expeditions.

Galapagos Photo Portfolio

iPhone Panorama Portfolio – Seeing Double

Categories: Adventure, iPhone, National Geographic, Natural World, Time-lapse Techniques, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Fire Can Restore a Forest – TIME LAPSE VIDEO

Originally posted on The Nature ConservancyConservancy Talk on July 24, 2013.

Editor’s note: The following guest post is from Rich Reid, an outdoor photographer based in Ojai, California. Rich recently returned from an assignment for Nature Conservancy magazine documenting the regrowth of a forest after a controlled burn.

Ground View Time-lapse (8 weeks)

The Nature Conservancy’s Chuck Martin pulled up in his white truck and introduced himself in his friendly southern accent as I photographed a historic tobacco-drying log cabin on the 4,000-plus-acre Moody Forest Natural Area that he manages. The wealth of Chuck’s ecological and historical knowledge made this preserve in southern Georgia come to life. After decades of turpentine harvesting from the longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) and loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), plus altered land use for over a century, the Conservancy and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources partnered to create this woodland preserve in 2001 with the help from the Moody Family.

I found myself in this beautiful old-growth forest on a unique mission: document the changes of a controlled burn using time-lapse photography. The Conservancy has been using controlled burns as a method to restore native habitats and control invasive plants for over 50 years on their lands. My assignment sounded simple enough… what could go wrong?

Moody’s Diverse Natural Communities

Driving down the narrow sandy road through this longleaf pine and blackjack oak forest, Chuck points out the burrows of the threatened gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus). As we past each “unit” I could see the obvious burn chronology on the fire-managed forest he was describing. We glided past the 32-acre scheduled burn site on our way to a beautiful cypress and tupelo slough that recently flooded from an overflowing Altamaha River. The large carnivorous yellow pitcherplant (Sarracenia lava) grew in patches of recently burned underbrush as white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) leaped through the well-managed forest.

On our ride I reflected on the preparation that went into pulling off this long-term time-lapse video assignment. Not only did I have to build a fire-proof camera housing for my Nikon D7000, it had to survive two months out in the elements as it recorded the forest regrowth after the burn. Challenges were met each day; software limitations, hardware problems, battery issues and long days in the field.

Time-lapse camera casing

Burn a Forest to Save a Forest

Chuck handed out satellite maps and safety briefed his professional fire crew as they measured conditions. The small test fire passed inspection so the “back fire” was light with drip torches along the trail and burned predictable into the north breeze. Now for the impressive part: the fire crew scripted with precision the lighting of the “head fire” connecting the “back fire” precisely where my three cameras were filming, capturing every lick of flame.

Time-lapse camera

All three cameras were surrounded by fire at one point but remarkably, only a lens hood melted and the safety straps shrunk. Once it was safe to enter they burn zone, I swapped new cards and batteries to record a time-lapse of the full moon casting long shadows through the smoky forest. At sunrise, I returned for the final time to retrieve data and set up two of my cameras for two months recording the regrowth in the burn zone.

Two months and one week later, I was really excited to see a large box on my porch that Chuck shipped containing my two cameras. Not a day went by without thinking about my equipment 2,500 miles away strapped to a tree “supposedly” clicking away. Anxiously I opened the box that contained the answers and unbelievably they performed as planned; 1850 RAW files on one camera and 1,200 jpegs on the other.

After months of planning and executing this assignment, ecstatic is the only way to describe seeing a lush green forest on the last images on each card. This couldn’t be the same forest I left a few months ago? Not only was I amused with the prolific regrowth but also amazed my cameras survived this adventure. After hand selecting the forest images, I used a range of software to auto-align, color correct and assemble thousands of still images into these time-lapse videos. Enjoy.

Tree View Time-lapse (6 weeks)

Special thanks to Chuck Martin and Erick Brown from The Nature Conservancy and their fire crew for keeping me safe and providing this incredible opportunity to document fire in a positive way. Your work benefits the wildlife and people that depend on healthy forests.

[Video and images © Rich Reid for The Nature Conservancy]

Categories: Natural World, Photography Techniques, The Nature Conservancy, Time-lapse Techniques | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tour of California – Bike Race Coverage

The Amgen Tour of California is one of America’s greatest bike races and has been hosted in the state’s most popular cities and over the most iconic places in the past 8 years. Each year, the course gets more challenging and summons the best riders in the world to compete in this 8 day, 750 mile brutal test of endurance.

Fans gather at the summit of at category 4, 12% climb up  Balcom Canyon during stage 6 of the 2007 Tour of California.

Fans gather at the summit of at category 4, 12% climb up Balcom Canyon during stage 6 of the 2007 Tour of California.

Since the tours inception, I have been covering the race from the inaugural prologue when Levi Leipheimer reached the top of Telegraph Hill in San Francisco in record time to yesterday’s sprint through downtown Ojai. The first few years, I covered the event for Getty Images and now I photograph the race simply for inspiration.

Five image composite of Levi Leipheimer riding to his victory during the prologue stage of the 2006 Tour of California in San Francisco, California.

Five image composite of Levi Leipheimer riding to his victory during the prologue of the 2006 Tour of California in San Francisco, California.

Covering a professional road race is not easy, in fact its down right difficult. My general approach is to scout my spots using Google Earth looking for topographical features and classic viewpoints on a hill climb and the finish. Half of the entertainment is the crowd, however they pose challenges like kicking your tripod or obstructing your view. I arrive a few hours before the forecast appearance and stake my claim on a high vantage point. Even then, you can never predict the kid that’s uses your tripod as a climbing handhold or a brawl in the crowd.

Levi Leipheimer cycling to his victory up Lombard Street during the prologue stage of the 2006 Tour of California in San Francisco, California.

Levi Leipheimer cycling to his victory up Lombard Street during the prologue of the 2006 Tour of California in San Francisco.

My objectives are always the same; get great still images and a dynamic time-lapse with only one chance in a “very” short time window. The still images are pretty straight forward but you need the subject with background and the right lens. Wide stitched panoramas incorporating the scenery to tight panning telephoto shot of a time trail are techniques I employed to add value to a static still image.

George Hincapie wins stage 5 of the 2006 Amgen Tour of California in Santa Barbara, California.

George Hincapie wins stage 5 of the 2006  Tour of California in Santa Barbara, California.

The time-lapses require a much more methodical approach and luck….yes luck. When you are trying to predict something in the future, it doesn’t always happen as planned. In most cases, I set my intervals to 3 seconds at least 15 to 20 minutes before the riders appear and then change to a 1 second interval while the peloton passes and then back to 3 seconds. Sometime, I will set my motor drive on multiple images and fire at least a dozen images while they are passing. The above technique will create a “ramped” time-lapse that starts fast, slows in the middle and finishes fast. This can also be done in post, however its much better to have the data (images) when the action happens. I refer to this technique as “stop-time-lapse” and the results can be pleasantly unpredictable.

To learn more about time-lapse photography, please visit my website for the next available workshop.

Here are a few favorite still images from the race…..

The peloton during stage 3 of the 2013 Tour of California bike race passing through Ojai, California.

The peloton during stage 3 of the 2013 Tour of California bike race passing through Ojai, California.

Ivan Basso riding the time trial during stage 5 of the 2007 Tour of California in Solvang, California.

Ivan Basso riding the time trial during stage 5 of the 2007 Tour of California in Solvang, California.

Thomas Danielson,  Levi Leipheimer,  Floyd Landis and George Hincapie during stage 6 of the Tour of California in Ojai, California.

Thomas Danielson, Levi Leipheimer, Floyd Landis & George Hincapie during stage 6 of the Tour of California in Ojai, California.

Paolo Bettini, Gerald Ciolek and Juan Jose Haedo sprinting across the finish line of stage 5 of the 2007 Tour of California in San Luis Obispo, California.

Paolo Bettini, Gerald Ciolek and Juan Jose Haedo sprinting across the finish line of stage 5 of the 2007 Tour of California in San Luis Obispo, California.

Categories: Adventure, Photography Techniques, Time-lapse Techniques, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time-lapse Collection 2012 Showreel

My time-lapse showreel arrived a bit late this year but here it is…

2012 was an exciting travel year from Svalbard, Norway to Northern Arizona photographing polar bears to ancient Sinaguan monuments. Time-lapse challenges with equipment and software were numerous and new workflows and techniques were forged by inevitable progress.

The monarch butterfly metamorphosis was the most challenging and educational. See my post on the process of capturing this impressive macro event in my studio.

The day-to-night time-lapses are the most difficult to capture smoothly and I tried several new dissolve techniques with varying degrees of success. The big tip is to know the moon phase and other celestial events that will influence your lighting. Shooting in RAW is critical.

Traffic was a new subject tested last year and I discovered the twilight hours produced the best results with a setting of a 1:2 ratio of exposure to interval. A stable platform is a must.

Astrophotography is one of my favorite time-lapse subjects and 2012 offered us a rare chance to witness a full solar eclipse which I botched due to my tripod. Lesson learned long ago was to use a two tripod or mono- tripod combo to stabilize long lenses. And good luck focusing.

My equipment performed flawless this year accept for crossing the leads on a 12v battery which melted. Always cover open battery leads! My Nikon D7000 dealt with extended freezing and hot conditions without any problems. Really hope to use the Dynamic Perceptions MX Dolly more in 2013 with planned car travel.

Some of the software used to create this showreel includes; Photoshop, Bridge, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Motion, LRTimelapse and Starstax.

My new favorite app is The Photographers Ephemeris  (TPE). It saved me hours of scouting for my time-lapse workshop and worked flawless when we scuttled to Plan B because of fog.

Please join me at one of my time-lapse workshops over the next few months:

ASMP San Diego Time-lapse Photography Lecture & Workshop: May 9 & 11, 2013 in San Diego, California.
Brooks Institute Time-lapse Photography Workshop: July 12-14, 2013 in Ventura, California.

Thanks, Rich.

richreidphotography.com
timelapsecollection.com
richreidphoto.wordpress.com/

Music by Alexander Maas, MUX, iStockphoto

Categories: Natural World, Photography Techniques, Time-lapse Techniques, Travel, Workshop | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prescribed Fire Time-lapse Assignment

Time-lapse camera in Moody Forest.

Time-lapse camera in Moody Forest.

Time-lapse camera in Moody Forest.

Time-lapse camera in Moody Forest.

What a crazy assignment covering a prescribed fire for The Nature Conservancy.  Moody Forest Natural Area is managed by TNC and Georgia DNR and covers over 4,000 acres of mixed hardwood, Longleaf pine forest and tupelo swamps along the Altamaha River near Baxley, Georgia.

Annual prescribed fire is one management technique that The Nature Conservancy uses to protect endangered wildlife and a rare old growth forest. Spring is the opportune time to burn much of the non-native undergrowth in the Longleaf Pine forest.

Much preparation went into pulling off a long term time-lapse video assignment of forest regrowth after a prescribed burn. To achieve my three month objective, I had to build a camera housing and create a visual script of before, during and after the fire. Challenges were met each day; software limitations, hardware problems, battery issues all while working long days in the field.

Equipment used were 3 Nikon D7000 DSLR cameras, a Wingscape 8mp camera, several Nikkor lenses, two tripods and a custom pelican case housing. All the equipment survived direct fire and only the custom hood melted. The design and construction phases of the housing were entertaining however the transportation and installation not as fun.

A total of 275 GB of media was captured including RAW time-lapse and still images plus HD video for the project. The editor and I are pleased with the initial results of 40 images, 2-minutes of HD time-lapse and RAW video footage documenting the burn. Many thanks go out to Chuck Martin, Erick Brown and their fire crew for keeping me safe and providing an incredible opportunity to document fire in a positive form. Stay tuned for the final video!

Time-lapse camera during a prescribed fire in Moody Forest.

Time-lapse camera during a prescribed fire in Moody Forest.

Chuck Martin of The Nature Conservancy, Georgia.

Chuck Martin of The Nature Conservancy, Georgia.

Time-lapse camera during a prescribed fire in Moody Forest.

Time-lapse camera during a prescribed fire in Moody Forest.

Melted time-lapse camera after a prescribed burn.

Melted time-lapse camera after a prescribed fire.

Full moon frame grab from the time-lapse tree camera.

Full moon frame grab from the time-lapse tree camera after the prescribed fire.

Categories: Adventure, Natural World, Photography Techniques, The Nature Conservancy, Time-lapse Techniques | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time-lapse tree camera

The Nature Conservancy time-lapse project was suggested many months ago and now is underway. A prescribed burn in an old growth long-leaf pine forest to restore rare habitats and species on a preserve in Southern Georgia.

Image  Image

My new time-lapse setup will be put through the test over the next few months and using a Nikon D7000 to document the regrowth after the burn.
So many miles, factors and unknowns on this project. New friends and experiences on the horizon.
Wish me luck.
Image   Image

Categories: Natural World, Photography Techniques, The Nature Conservancy, Time-lapse Techniques | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Time-lapse Workshop – Show Reel

This past weekend, a group of photography enthusiasts joined me for an inspiring time-lapse workshop in Ventura, California. Our predawn and twilight shoots with the changing weather were awesome. A passing storm and developing cold front combined with a full moonrise and set were our palette of subjects.
After a sleep deprived 48 hours and lots of creative synergy, our crew produced these memorable time-lapses with a combination of software in Brooks Institute’s lab; Bridge, Photoshop, Lightroom, After Effects and Final Cut Pro.
In the digital lab, our computers were like dueling banjos testing the processing speeds of Bridge, Camera Raw and Lightroom. I personally learned a tremendous amount leading this workshop including software limitations exporting in Bridge, advanced Camera Raw adjustments and a few After Effects tricks. Collectively, we found our camera’s ISO thresholds, optimal file sizes for post-processing and tested a crazy array of intervalometers.
I am already setting a date for my next time-lapse workshop in Ventura sometime this summer. Stay tuned.
Special thanks to the following people….
Workshop Crew:
Darren Edwards, Larry Gibson, Zachary Levey, Stan Pechner, Dennis Stone
Technical Assistant:
Michael Lopez
Brooks Institute:
Katie Huber

Categories: Natural World, Photography Techniques, Time-lapse Techniques, Workshop | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ventura Highway Sunrise

Winter provides the cold clear skies that create optimum photography conditions in Southern California; sunrise is relatively late, skies are generally clear and temperatures are usually moderate. Add a little weather plus surf and its an ideal winter photography location.

This Ventura Highway time-lapse at sunrise combines many photography and software technique to achieve the final clip. The best shooting time is the dusk or dawn hour with clear skies. The following are the stats and general workflow…..

265 JPEG (3,000 x 2,000) large, exposure 1/2 second and interval every 2 seconds
Nikon D7000, 10mm lens at f/4 with intervalometer
Bogen tripod and head with rubber foot grips

Download card and view files in Bridge. Deleted eight files for exposure anomalies to avoid flicker.
Select All, Open in Camera Raw, made minor adjustments to shadows, white balance and saturation to a middle image. Select All and Synchronize. Save Images as 12 JPEG sRGB into a separate folder.
Import Folder into Final Cut Pro, render and export as a ProRes 422 HD file. Wha-La!

Sound simple. If not, come join me for a three day time-lapse photography workshop this January in Ventura, to improve your photography and learn new time-lapse techniques.

http://workshops.brooks.edu/time-lapse-photography-january-25-27-2013/

Categories: Photography Techniques, Time-lapse Techniques | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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