Time Lapse Photography with Your DSLR
by Peter Zack
We’ve seen many of these before but I’m wondering if you’ve given it a try? Creating a time-lapse video is very simple and doesn’t take exotic equipment. For the sunset time-lapse above, I used a wireless remote (available in a wired version as well) that allows interval timed shots programmed into the remote. You can find these for almost any recent DSLR on eBay for around $25 (wired) to $50 (wireless). Add a wide to mid length zoom, a tripod and you are ready to go take some interesting short videos.
To finish the work, you can use the Apple software, iMovie, or on a PC, use Windows Movie Maker. To polish the shots off a bit better before turning it into a movie, use a bulk editor like Lightroom. Software like this can apply edits that can be applied to all the shots in one action. For example, make sure your sensor is clean and if it isn’t, you can clone the spot out. A dust spot in one place that shows up while everything is moving will drive you and the viewer crazy. LR can take care of this for you fairly quickly.
Think of a fun or interesting subject. An example could be the meteor showers that happen at various times throughout the year (see this year’s most important showers). Go with longer exposures and let the camera shoot all night (in a secure location if you can’t stay awake!). Keep the interval to 1 second so the frames are one after the other. You can always delete frames after you get the full set. The Milky Way time lapse below was found on YouTube and was taken with a Nikon D90 and Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens using 25s exposures, ISO 3200, WB 5000k at 30s intervals. Next clear night, I’m going to try this but with a longer lens around 200mm to see what details I can get from the Milky Way.
Video by Harley Grady
A party could be a good choice or any other event with a larger group of people. Maybe secure the camera on the dash of the car and go for a drive. The ideas are endless. Spring is coming, I can see the camera in the garden at 4 AM capturing a flower opening at dawn.
The remote I used is shown below and made by Yongnuo, widely available on eBay:
The small wired pod connected to the camera is the receiver. It offers 2 functions and can also fit on the hot shoe while in use. It’s a wired shutter release cable that works by simply pushing a button on the top. In combination with the transmitter, it also receives the signals at 2.4GHz via radio (not IR) and can “see” through walls or fire at a distance without much interference.
The transmitter unit is either wired or wireless and all program functions work the same either way. In the photo, you can see the red light on both the transmitter and the receiver; this is showing a connection between the two units. The shutter button is locked on the transmitter (Bulb Mode) to show you this, so you don’t have to hold the button down for long exposures. The cheaper package just contains this remote and the cord you see in the photo and does not have the receiver. Using it this way, you plug the remote directly into the camera and program the shooting sequence the way you want. Getting the wireless receiver version offers a lot more flexibility. You can fire the camera from a distance, maybe the family photos or the birds going to your feeder.
A few features offered by the remote control:
- Interval timer: Any time interval and as many shots as will fit in the card.
- Bulb exposures that are timed by the transmitter. Also not timed by just pushing the shutter release button (Lock/Unlock).
- Delay timer: You can set the time for the camera to wait until it starts shooting. Up to a 100 hour delay.
- Exposure counter: Set the number of shots you want the camera to take.
- Wireless or wired shutter release.
Either version you choose (wired or wireless) will provide a lot of fun with this set-up for a small investment. Just make sure you check that your camera has a remote control plug and order the correct remote cable end for your camera brand and model. There is no standard remote plug, and even within the same brand different camera models can have a different socket. The buyer I got mine from was good enough to sell me a few different cables for the different cameras I have instead of buying several complete sets to fit each camera.
Cheers and good shooting
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Tags: How to time lapse, Photography, Remote for time lapse DSLR, Sunset Time Lapse, Time-Lapse