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Friday, September 04, 2009

Time-Lapse of Milky Way over Crater Lake

In what appears to be a repeating series, I've developed another time-lapse sequence of the Milky Way passing over interesting places. This time, the subject is Crater Lake National Park in Oregon.

If the video frame above this text is not visible, you can view it on youtube using this link.

On shooting time-lapse videos, the most common question I get asked is why I shoot these with a still camera and not a video camera. There are many advantages to shooting with a still, but the two most important ones are resolution and image processing.

First, shooting with a 21mpx camera gives me 5600 pixels horizontally, which allows me to pan and zoom within a sequence in ways that cannot be done using traditional video cameras. The sequence of the crescent moon setting in the video above is a good example: there are three zoomed views of the moon in the video, but they were all part of the same series of still photos. I shot with a 400mm lens, but was able to crop down to get an effective 1600mm lens without losing any video quality. I could have even gone further and stayed within high-def video quality.

Second, the fact that these are still photos allows me to use batch processing in photoshop to reduce noise, to bring out detail in shadows and highlights, and color correction for mixed light sources with different white balances, such as mixing incandescent (lightbulb) and natural light. None of these are possible using video-editing software.

And that's only the beginning.

I've been getting a lot of interest as well in leading a photo workshop dedicated to doing time-lapse. If I do, it'll probably be in the SF bay area (where I live). Of course, I always do this sort of stuff on my travel photo workshops that I run for Wilderness Travel. If you're interested in learning more about those, see their website or call them and ask.

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