Time-lapse photography is a technique whereby the frequency at which the frame rate is much lower than that used to view the sequence. When put together to play a movie at normal speed, time appears to be moving faster and thus lapsing. That would be the definition of time lapse photography, and, classic examples of scenes that fit well with this technique are: sunrise, sunset, flower blooming and plants growing, moving clouds, driving cars seen from a far distance, people walking, or even the evolution of a construction project.
This technique appears to be a bridge between photography and movie making, more movie making oriented since you will, traditionally, blend more frames together.
You might believe that this technique is hard to perform, but, in fact, it’s one of the simplest photography techniques there is. You don’t need to have super complicated camera settings and adjustments. All you have to bare in mind is keeping the exact same spot for the camera while taking the photos. Basically, what you need is: a tripod, a camera, and a lot of patience.
The frame rate of time-lapse movie photography can be varied to virtually any degree, from a rate approaching a normal frame rate (between 24 and 30 frames per second) to only one frame a day, a week, or more, depending on subject. This makes your choices very broad.
Now comes the big question: what if you don’t want to make a short movie out of those frames you took? What if you could show the entire change between the frames in one single photograph? Sound impossible, but, photographer Dan Marker-Moore managed to do this, and the result is simply amazingly eye-catching.
Instead of blending the photographs into a movie by putting them one after the other, he cropped slices of each picture and placed them one next to the other. In short, he created a series of collages in which a single image is made up of slices of photos taken in a time lapse.
The vertical slices of photos are arranged diagonally or horizontally, such that the slice on the left was taken just a few moments before the one on the right. The resulting image captures the array of colors when the sun rises over a city, or as dusk approaches the skyline in beautiful hues of blue, orange, and red.
The difficulty in this creative time lapse photography technique, is to blend the slices so well, that the image of the city will appear natural, as in one single frame. Think of panoramic photography. It’s the same concept: you blend several images to create a naturally flowing landscape.
In a recent interview, aerial photographer Dan Marker-Moore, said that for his images, the capturing process for each frame can vary from a few minutes to several hours. In order to layer each photo individually into one composite, he uses either After Effects or Photoshop. According to him, “important aspects of a winning timeslice include good variation of color in the sky and strong subject.”
Now, let’s see some of his best “Time Slices”.