Spotlight: Timelapses of the Near, the Far, and the Future

By David Schonauer   Monday September 16, 2019

The art of the time-lapse has become ever more sophisticated.

Today, for instance, we spotlight a 55-second timelapse from photographer Aryeh Nirenberg that visualizes the Earth rotating around the Milky Way.

This is something of a feat. “Although the Earth rotates below the sky, aerial time-lapse videos often have the perspective of a celestial scene rushing above the ground,” noted Colossal recently. “But,” added Kottke, “that perspective is really only valid from our particular frame of reference standing on the Earth. What’s actually happening is that our tiny little speck of dirt is twirling amid a galactic tapestry that is nearly stationary.”

Nirenberg captured that reality by fixing the Milky Way as the point of reference and having the landscape spin instead, thus highlighting the planet’s rotation. He shot the photos a couple of years ago over a span of three hours using a Sony a7S II and a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 on an equatorial tracking mount, noted PetaPixel. He shot 1,100 separate 10-second exposures (at f/2.8 and ISO 1600) with 12 seconds between each shot.

Results: Spectacular. (You may also find yourself getting a little dizzy, or at least leaning sideways as you watch.) Find more of Nirenberg’s work at  Instagram.

On the other hand, art director Ben Quaniche finds beauty not in the stars, but in a drop of water.

A founder of Macro Room, a film production company specializing in macro videos, Quaniche created a memorable macro video of pills dissolving in water that was recently named a Vimeo Staff Pick.

Quaniche used a Panasonic GH4 paired with Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L macro lenses to shoot a variety of pills dissolving in a small tank lit from above. The result, noted DIY Photography, is “unexpectedly beautiful” and “almost hypnotizing.”

See more of Quaniche’s work at his website, Instagram, and YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, you can check out storm chaser Mike Olbinski’s latest time-lapse. Phoenix-based Olbinski, who shoots weddings when he’s not traipsing across the Southwest and Great Plains looking for thunderstorms, compiled imagery from two storm seasons — spring 2018 and spring 2019 — for his new video, titled Vorticity 2.

“It was incredibly difficult to sit on that collection of footage for over a year, but I'm glad I did,” notes Olbinski. “When you've done a few of these, at some point you gotta work even harder to top yourself and I did my best to make that happen.” He shot almost all the images with two Canon 5DS R cameras and variety of Canon lenses. (A couple of the lightning sequences were shot with a Sony a7R III.

Finally we spotlight a project being undertaken by filmmaker Joseph DiGiovanna, who aims to shoot a time-lapse of the New York City skyline that will span 30 years. DiGiovanna recently explained his plan to photographer Emeric Le Bars, who is working on a new documentary series about time-lapse photographers. As he notes in the video below, the idea for the project began when he moved to Weehawken, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from Manhattan, and became fascinated with the view from his apartment.

DiGiovanna is four years into the project, notes PetaPixel. Much of the process he uses is automated: The high-quality photos that go into his time-lapses are captured every 30 seconds using a Sony a7S mirrorless camera permanently mounted to the top corner of an apartment window. The camera is tethered to a MacBook Pro that’s always on and receiving photos from the camera.


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