Ogden Point Timelapse

Last year I did a series on the Ogden Point Breakwater and it seemed a good place to try my first ever time-lapse photography. As it turned out the breakwater is undergoing an improvement – a hand rail is being installed along the top on both sides. This ruins the aesthetic of the place in many ways, but probably satisfies the risk managers, somewhere. My plan to capture the sunrise from near the far end of the breakwater was thwarted by barriers, so I set up on the side-walk beside Dallas Road.

The location I chose had a constant stream of walkers passing by, and I set the camera up to catch them in the distance. However the exposure soon darkened enough that they don’t show, and the frame interval was too long to give a nice feel of motion to them or the float planes that were landing for the first half hour, or even the pilot-boat that went to ships and came back twice while I was stood by the camera steering dogs on the ends of leashes away from the tripod leg.


It was a lovely evening, but chilly and I was glad to find a hat in my pocket. Near the end of my series, I talked to a guy who had come down with his Nikon, tripod and a similar idea, but he had missed the light and the water was too placid for good long exposures so we talked instead. He told me he thought Lightroom 4 could process time-lapse shots, which was a great tip and I found a good source for a template and downloaded it when I got home. He showed me, on his iPhone, one of his time-lapse movies from Gonzales Hill behind my house – it looked like very good work, but I did not get his name or a url, so I can’t even thank him for the help. He also asked a number of questions that made me realise how little I know about this kind of photography.  We talked for a while after the sun had gone down. I could not view any of the images being taken, so I had to guess when it was all faded to dark and left it a bit longer than necessary and so deleted about 50 images from then end of the series.

You can find out more about the breakwater in my first post of this series. This link summarises the still series from the breakwater.


Canon EOS 5Dmkii, Nikkor-N 24mm/f2.8 lens, ISO100. Still above: f8, 1/4000th. Video: f2.8, 1/4,000 seconds for all images (manual setting), 321 stills shot at 15 seconds apart from 8:18 to 8:59pm using Pixel TW-282 timer. Processed in Lightroom 4 (straightening only) and then rendered as a movie through LR4 Slideshow module, with a user template downloaded from a youtube instructional video which worked just fine. I chose 24fps.



23 thoughts on “Ogden Point Timelapse

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  5. Nicely done! But oh my…handrails on the Ogden Point breakwater, I’m aghast! Not only will it ruin the aesthetics, but it will remove the thrill of walking there during windstorms – that was a huge high for me and my friends when we were teenagers. How boring it will be for young people!


    • Some of your subjects would work so well as timelapse – lonely old places with great skies moving past. The clouds last evening did not seem at first to be moving to my untrained eye, so I was pretty pleased as I was standing there to see there was going to be something. I like how clouds can just materialise out of ‘thin air’ and then disappear. While I was looking in the opposite direction a pilot boat came out of the harbour and got about halfway down the visible coastline when an enormous freighter loomed around the point to drop its pilot. It would have made a terrific timelapse.

      I’ve been looking all my life for a dog dissuader. I have pretty much given up. Most of the things that work would provoke a fist fight with the owner. At least these ones were all on the leash, and none of them lifted their leg on me, or the tripod.


      • You are right that some of the old buildings I shoot would make good timelapse shots – guess I’d better start shopping for a remote timer! I agree with what you said about clouds and the way they can appear and disappear, usually without our even noticing.

        As far as the dog dissuader, I guess what I mostly need is a dog-shutter-upper: my neighbor’s dog barks all day long, without stopping. When I work from home, or try to write on the weekends, I usually have to wear noise cancelling headphones. My opinion on that dog might cause a fist-fight, if I were to ever discuss with the neighbor.


      • Add to your gear list a folding lawn chair, umbrella on a stand and good book.

        I am sorry to hear about your neighbour’s dog. What a nuisance. My kids used to complain about a neighbours dog that barked at 8am every morning when it was let out into the yard. The kids were asleep. We were none too sympathetic as we had been up for hours and the barking was only for 10 minutes or so.


    • Thank you! It is an interesting thing to try out as it adds so many layers of complexity on top of all the usual things that go into making a single image.


  6. Love this, Ehpem! I’ve been studying the timelapse techniqes, now that I have a camera that can do it internally. Amazing that you could get such a beautiful sequence in such a short time. I’m looking forward to doing some of these in the garden this summer, to catch flowers opening up in the morning. Thanks for the inspiration.


    • Thanks Lynn! I have been reading about timelapse for the last hour or so. I think I lucked out in several ways. I had no shutter flicker from mechanical differences in the shutter between shots, even though shooting much faster than the recommended maximum (I guess my shutter must be in excellent condition). Also, I used a manual lens and thus did not get any aperture flicker from the electronic aperture being slightly different between shots, though in fact I did shoot wide open which would have worked for an electronic aperture as well. I did absorb from my earlier studying to put the camera in manual mode so got that bit right. I forgot to do a fine levelling of the camera, and had to fix that on all the images in Lightroom after the fact. I also remembered to frame it for the aspect ratio of a video which crops some of what one sees in the view finder(top and bottom). Anyway, I am going to try more of these. It would be so much fun to do some flower shots, or growth of some of those beans and other plants that just shoot up during the day. I expect you will be setting yours to some nice music a well!


  7. I like the time lapse!!!I’ve never tried it but it seems like an interesting challenge. I may have to look into this. Did you use a device that timed the shots or is it a camera function? Or strictly manual? I’ll also look into the Lightroom instructions, too.


    • Hi Ken. I love time lapse, or at least the good ones:) There seems a lot to learn, but it seems highly likely you will be seeing more of this from me. I did research some methods a few months ago, but the time and inspiration combined for the first time last night, so I had forgotten much of what I learned and just winged it.

      I did use a remote wireless timer, a Pixel TW 282 which I bought mostly to use for longer bulb setting shots and other typical cable release functions. I had not used the timer before, it worked very well for this. I just set it going and then put the remote partway into a pocket in my camera bag on the ground, with the emitting end sticking up and it did everything else. Except keep the active little dogs on leashes from walking through the tripod legs. That nearly happened a couple of times. I need a remote dog dissuader as well.


    • Hi James. The position of the setting sun was a stroke of luck – It did occur to me that it would move in that direction, but to have it land right behind the drilling ship mast was more than I could hope for.
      I have imagined that very thing, and plan to try HDR in this context sometime – it is a terrific way to deal with all the tonal range. Or, I could buy a graduated neutral density filter, which would be simpler. With Photomatix I can batch process the HDR, and the camera can be set up to take brackets on the timer. It does generate an enormous number of images, but for video I think I can shoot in a smaller format anyway. It involves a lot of processing time, especially on my computer which is stretched to the limits now.


      • Fully-automating the process is so rewarding if it can be done, though. Overnight! I’ve never done HDR video but I’ve done 40-megapixel stitched images, which take a lot of computing time.


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