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Taking a Hurricane Break

August 30, 2011

A hurricane isn’t exactly something you can (or want to) plan for on a trip but if you’re stuck in one you might as well make the most of it.  Last week the outer bands of Hurricane Irene whipped through Washington, DC and I was stuck inside for about 24 hours.  I’ve gotten into timelapse photography lately and I thought that this technique would be the best way to make the slow moving storm breeze by.  This is what I came up with.


Let me tell you how I did it.  The video is made up of 4 separate videos:

  • Video 1 & 2 – HDR (0:04 – 0:42)
    • 2 videos
    • 500 intervals each X 3 bracketed images per interval
    • 5 second intervals
  • Video 3 (0:43 – 0:58 & 1:05 – 1:11)
    • 900 intervals X 1 image per interval
    • 20 second intervals
  • Video 4 (1:17 – 1:27)
    • 500 intervals X 1 image per interval
    • 10 second intervals
I didn’t put all of the entire videos into the video you saw above.  I wanted to keep the video short and switch up every 10 seconds or so to hold people’s attention.  Though if you do the math that’s 4400 pictures taken that day.  Not bad.
What Equipment I Used

Camera: A Nikon D300.  The D300 has an intervalometer that allows you to set the number of intervals you want to take, the number of shots per interval, and the time in between interval.

Lenses: Videos 1 & 2 were taken with an 11-16 mm Tokina lens.  Videos 3 & 4 were taken with a 18-200 mm Nikkor lens.

Tripod: This is a necessary component of any timelapse. All 4 videos made use of a tripod.

Filters: Videos 3 & 4 were taken using a circular polarizer (to minimize reflection from the glass) and a graduated neutral density filter (to even out the exposure between the bring sky and darker ground)

Software: The 1000 sets of bracketed images were merged to HDR using batch processing in Photomatix Pro. Then Apple Automator was used to rename the photos and resize them to 1024 X 768 pixels.  Quicktime 7 was used to make the timelapse videos.  iMovie was used to combine the timelapse movies.

Additional Resources (cool timelapses)

District 1.5: HDR Timelapse – I’m proud of how this turned out but this link will take you to the coolest timelapse I’ve ever seen.

Dakotalapse – A collection of awesome, starlit timelapse videos from Randy Halverson.

Chicago Tiny Town – A timelapse video using a tilt-shift lens so everything looks tiny.  Really cool.

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