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Nature Watch: Capturing Flowers Blooming ... and The Prairie Wind

By David Schonauer   Tuesday December 18, 2018


Time lapses can be deconstructed by the numbers:

For instance, Slovakian photographer Majo Chudý’s three-minute video Flowers Blooming 2 is composed of 24,626 images from a total of 40,000 shots captured over a nine-month period. It was a complicated process, he notes.

“I could not estimate in advance the blooming period of each flower, so it was very hard to set the interval between each exposition,” he explains. “I chose 1-2 minutes. The longest blooming of Orchidea Dendrobium is over 105 hours. Therefore, it consumed more than 2000 shots. The fastest flowering flower was Succulent Faucaria and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Although blooming lasted only 7 hours, I shot about 1500 shots for everyone. I knew they would be fast and so I shorten the interval for 20 seconds.”

But numbers don’t convey the astonishing beauty of the final video, which we feature today. We also feature director Martin Lisius’s Prairie Wind, a 16K HDR film shot with two 50-megapixel Canon 5DS DSLRs. “I’ve captured hurricanes, tornadoes, and lightning on Super 35mm motion picture film, 4K and even 3D,” he says. “I wanted to try something different, something more immersive.”

The 4-minute short film is currently available at YouTube and Vimeo. One day we may get to see it as Lisius conceived it — once video displays offer 16K resolution.
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Flowers Blooming 2

Majo Chudy shot his time lapse of flowers blooming using a Sony a7 mirrorless camera and a Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. His studio was a simple setup consisting of black blankets and a bulb wrapped in aluminum foil. “Very much postproduction work has led to the removal of the tiny insects that passed through the flowers during flowering. Just over three minutes of video shows incredible 929 hours of real time,” Chudy notes.

Flowers featured in the film: Apricot, Amaryllis, Rose, Lily, Pear, Apple, Orchid, Cherry, Alstroemeria, Schlumbergera, Anemone hupehensis, Succulent Faucaria, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis.


Prairie Wind

“I’m fortunate to have grown up on the Great Plains of America where I can touch the sky often,” writes director Martin Lisius. “A storm there can transform you. It’s a conduit to God, an interaction with Wakinyan, the Lakota thunder spirit. While you are part of the storm, the bonds of earth are lifted, and you are free.”

To capture the prairie wind, pushed the limits of camera tech. “In early 2018, I embarked on a mission to capture storms on the highest resolution motion picture format I could reasonably acquire, which for me was 16K (15,985 x 5792 pixels). It didn’t actually exist, so I had to create it,” he notes. “After much testing, I decided on using two 50MP cameras fixed to a custom-made calibrated mount. It was a daunting task, but I was able to make it work.”

Once he had the photos he needed, Lisius began stitching them together into 16K clips, notes PetaPixel. The clips are as long as 23-seconds each and contain up to 700 photo sets.

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