November 20, 2008

Time-Lapse Photos of Romanians
Piteşti, Romania

I've never really been in a place that sported both the security and a reason for me to leave my camera perched somewhere unattended on 'interval timer' mode before, but it would appear I've found it here in Piteşti.

A feature of the marginally compact Nikon P5000 that I'm using at the moment allows me to create time-lapse photos in intervals of 30 seconds or 1, 5, 10, 30, or 60 minutes (snapping away up to the capacity of the memory card). The camera powers down to standby mode between shots to conserve battery power, repeatedly springing to life at the designated time to focus and snap the image.

I gave method a shot in a little 80-minute trial experiment yesterday afternoon, and was so charged by the results that I couldn't wait to do it for a significantly longer duration today.

The point of interest is a roadside "bus stop", as seen from our third-story balcony. The location is almost always busy, and the opportunity to capture people like this—idling, totally oblivious to the camera—is just too good an opportunity to pass up.

To accomplish this I've used my Gorillapod to mount my camera in a concealed part of the balcony. Amazingly, the camera ran from 8:30 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon (the only useable light at this time of year), with plenty of battery power left at the end of the day after snapping at five minute intervals. There's no need for some type of AC adapter to pull this off. I'm also very pleased that the camera held up to the frigid temperatures for so long without any side effects.

I find the ability for me to capture this seemingly average part of daily life a very special thing. I'm capturing more than just people standing around, enduring the freezing temperatures (most the day it's in the 30s and 40s), but also their clothing style, mannerisms, families, friendships, and habits.

The hard part for me has been trying to decide how to frame the exposures, and dealing with the changing lighting conditions. A wider frame gives a better sense of the scene—chiefly the passing vehicles and the number of interesting people who opt to wait for their transport a good 10m in both directions from the center of the stop. But I'm also drawn towards zooming in as far as I can so that facial features and objects carried become the focus image.

I also like the images without any vehicles in the frame because it makes the scene seem so lonely and isolated when they're standing there, doing little more than waiting at the foot of a trash-ridden berm.

The imagery is so fascinating that I'm going to be taking time-lapse photos every day for the remainder of my stay here. I've got a solid way of compiling photos into video, so some days I'll have wider shots with the thought of a conglomerated video in mind, and others a closer shot for the single stills.

I'll have plenty of results tossed into another travelogue next week.


The United States


January 12th, 2009

So interesting!

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