Posts Tagged With: change

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]

Advertisements
Categories: Natural World, Photography Techniques, The Nature Conservancy, Time-lapse Techniques | 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

Monarch Butterfly Metamorphasis

An aphid next to a monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus egg attached to Mexican Butterfly Weed or Scarlet Milkweed, Asclepias curassavica in a garden in Oak View, California.

An aphid next to a monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus egg attached to Mexican Butterfly Weed or Scarlet Milkweed, Asclepias curassavica in a garden in Oak View, California.

A young girl watching a monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus caterpillar eating Mexican Butterfly Weed or Scarlet Milkweed, Asclepias curassavica in their school garden in Meiners Oaks, California.

A young girl watching a monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus caterpillar eating Mexican Butterfly Weed or Scarlet Milkweed, Asclepias curassavica in their school garden in Meiners Oaks, California.

Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus mature caterpillar feeding on swamp milkweed in Oak View, California.

Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus mature caterpillar feeding on swamp milkweed in Oak View, California.

Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus chrysalis metamorphosing into a butterfly in a studio in Oak View, California.

Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus chrysalis metamorphosing into a butterfly in a studio in Oak View, California.

Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus attached to its chrysalis during its first hour of life in Oak View, California.

Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus attached to its chrysalis during its first hour of life in Oak View, California.

Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus attached next to his chrysalis during his first hours of ermerging in Oak View, California.

Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus attached next to his chrysalis during his first hours of ermerging in Oak View, California.

Its December and monarchs are still emerging from their chrysalises because of the mild weather in California. Our garden was host to dozens of caterpillars this season that metamorphosed into the migrating generation of butterflies that will eventually hibernate this winter along the Pacific Coast.
After many outdoor attempts, I finally captured two time-lapses of a caterpillar transforming into a chrysalis and then into a butterfly in my indoor studio.

Technical Details:
Camera: Nikon D7000 with a macro 105mm lens at f/8.
JPEG 5,000 x 3,200, ISO 100 at 1/4 second exposure with a single light source.
sRGB color profile and manual white balance 3200k

Basic Workflow:
I used Bridge to selected 300 out of 2200 images for the first time-lapse and 400 out of 3000 images for the second time-lapse. Opened in Camera RAW and made adjustments, batch image processed into a folder. Import folder into Final Cut Pro and then export as an ProRes 422 quicktime file.

Music:
YeeHa Banjo Bill, The Tune Saloon, iStock Audio
Spycraft, Piotr Pacyna, iStock Audio

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

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: