They say that sunrise videos are the holy grail of time-lapse and I’m beginning to see why. My first attempt turned out ok. I’m still getting used to the gear, but I thought it would be a sharper image. When I compare that video to my second attempt, it is so much closer to professional though.
I will say that the second one was much more ambitious. I started shooting before dawn and continued until the sun was well into the sky to try and give it enough time to clear the tree line and light up the boats (but that never happened). There was a much more extreme light change to deal with than the mid-dawn to just after sun rise video I shot before.
It wasn’t a complete success or failure. I learned a decent amount. I wouldn’t say I learned a lot because I tend to research what I’m trying to shoot before I do it and there is so much info online. Head knowledge only counts for so much. The practical experience was fantastic.
To keep the rest of this brief, here are a few bulleted points about the shoot:
– Work on this video filled a full day (5am to 6pm) with two hours of actual shooting time. This will have to be the last of these videos for a while. They take too much time.
– It takes a LOT more time to edit a 56 second time-lapse video than a 6 second one.
– It was very windy and cold (40 to 46 degrees). I think it took me half an hour when I got home to warm back up enough to take off my hat and coat. 🙂
– I shot from a walkway on a bridge. All the traffic was really loud and caused a lot of vibration. I think this is why the video isn’t sharp.
– There is a lot of noise. I’m not sure why. I had my ISO on 100.
– I really wish I had some deflickering software. This video flickers much worse than the first one I did.
– I bungeed my tripod to the concrete railing because space was very limited and I knew there would be runners and walkers (I am usually one of them :))
– I had to make some guesses on exposure and that didn’t work so great. The video was darker for longer than I’d hoped.
– I knew I should have put an ND filter on to blur the water more, but I didn’t want to mess with it. I was having a lot of trouble getting set up because I couldn’t see what I was shooting and my hands were cold enough that they didn’t work well. I didn’t want to lose any equipment in the river.
– At one point during the video a big truck (or bus) comes by when I’m too close to the camera. The gust of wind knocked me off balance into the camera. You can see it shake in the video briefly.
– Photographing a sunset would be so much easier. I could expose perfectly for the first shot and leave everything in manual and untouched and just let the images fade to black. I have to find a nice place for a sunset around Jacksonville.
– They say clouds are a landscape photographers best friend. Sadly, the sky was clear but hazy that day.
– No nice colors in the sky this time. It is luck of the draw.
Overall, I had a great time on this shoot. I had fun explaining what I was doing to passersby. I loved getting to be still and just watch the sun come up. I had a lot of fun scouting the location a couple of days before. It is even cool to watch the video and catch the stuff that I completely missed unfolding before me when it happened in real time. Photography is fun!
NOTE: If you pay careful attention, you notice that TWO boats launch during the video.
If you know of a great place to see the sunset in the Jacksonville area, please let me know in the comments below. Most stuff around here seems to be oriented to catch the sunrise. I might try the spot I used for the first video again, but it would be neat to actually get the sun in the image.