Time Lapse with Photography

Recording moving images with a relatively long exposure time goes back to the earliest days of photography, although it was probably not intentional. The sensitivity of early photographic mediums was low and required longer exposures than we are accustomed to today. Subjects in early portraits had to stay extremely still during the exposure making the inclusion of children and the family pet a challenging endeavor.

In the pictures shown on this page, the camera was placed on a sturdy support, usually a tripod, and the shutter was opened for a longer time period than normal, usually measured in seconds or minutes. This is done by setting the shutter speed selector to "B" and holding the shutter open using a locking cable release. The actual times varied and were usually the result of experimentation. A light meter can be used if it is sensitive enough to pick up the ambient light. Another factor that has to be considered is the "reciprocity failure" for the exposure time. What that means is that if you do get a meter reading, for times in excess of a second you'll have to add additional time since the film's sensitivity is not purely a linear function.

Classic night time photography. Camera is place on a tripod or a steady surface, and the shutter is opened for an extended period, usually measured in seconds. The first two images where shot in the California desert.

The next three were shot along side the 405 Freeway.

Near Sutter Creek, California.

What you get when you blow into the BBQ.