This project involved the use of many different pieces of equipment, and techniques. I've detailed the process below, but I'll be glad to answer any questions in the comment area.
I used the 12mm Fisheye optic mounted in the Lensbaby Composer. This unique lens allowed me to include the architecturual features of Grand Central Terminal while still capturing the activity on the floor below. The Fisheye optic comes with a series of aperture discs that control your depth of field. I used f8 to make sure I had sharp focus from the foreground to the back wall. For more on Lensbaby, check out the interview I did with CEO Sam Pardue back at Photo Plus in NY.
Since you cannot autofocus with a mounted Lensbaby, I had to rely on my eyes to manually focus. While I have 20/20 vision, I didn't want to leave anything to chance so I used the wonderful "LiveView" feature. By doing this I was able to magnify the display on the LCD to 10x. It's like zooming in on the entire scene withouth actually changing the effective focal length of the lens. At 10x everything is much larger which allows you to micro focus on any portion in the scene. Previously I had only used LiveView for Macro work with tiny subjects, but it really shined here as well.
The camera was mounted on the Gorillapod for DSLR's. While this little item will never replace my trusty Gitzo, it was perfect for this project as I was able to set everything up on the bannister without being bumped by the bustling crowds.
4) CABLE RELEASE
I needed the camera to remain completely still so I used a cable release. I know there are special wireless and programmable cable releases, but I just used the good ole' manual remote.
This scene was shot over 25 minutes. I took a shot approximately every two seconds for a total of 750 images. How did I time it? Easy; everytime the previous image popped up on the LCD I took the next shot. This worked out to be roughly every two seconds.
6) SHUTTER SPEED
To create a Time Lapse it's helpful to use a slow shutter speed. This is sometimes referred to as "dragging the shutter". The idea is to make the motion more fluid and less like blips popping in and out of the frame. For this piece I found a shutter of 0"6 to be work really well.
7) CAMERA SETTING DETAILS
I used the Canon 40D. My exposure was set manually. This is necessary to achieve consistent exposures even with any shift in lighting conditions. The settings were ISO 400, 0"6, and f8. I also used custom white balance. Instead of RAW, I opted for JPEG as RAW files do not generally work with Time Lapse software.
The trick is to have all of your images in numerical order in one folder. I did this upon the initial upload from the CF card to Lightroom. I then used Quicktime Pro to open the image sequence and select how many frames per second the photos would play back at. I experimented with 24 frames per second and 15 fps before deciding on 12 fps for the final piece. Again, JPEGs are the only file types that would work here. The software also had a bit of a processing issue with the LARGE/FINE files. It seemed that Quicktme Pro could not handle 750 ten megapixel files. I had to use Photoshop CS4 to do a quick batch process and resize the images to 6x9 at 72dpi.
The amazing ominous track is by Nine Inch Nails from their album Ghosts (Disc 1). It is part of Creative Commons Licensing and is therefore legal for me to use. My sincere thanks to them as it is one of my favorite instrumental albums.
As a photographer, it's becoming very common to be asked for more than just "stills". This particular time lapse piece was included in a multimedia piece from the New Yorker. I encourage you to use the steps above to create your own time lapse feature.
Welcome back to Photo Marketing 101, our semi-weekly blog series on marketing yourself as a photographer. In our last post, I laid out a couple of ideas that you can use to begin to market yourself and your services for free.
An investment in marketing is an investment in your business. Each dollar you spend should pay for itself and then some. Here are a few things worth trying:
Paid Search Marketing
Paid search marketing is a way to spend your marketing dollars in a controlled environment to attract potential customers who are already searching for you. Whenever you search something on Google or Bing, you will see paid ads show up on the top and right hand side of the natural results that the search engine displays. These ads are targeted to the keywords that you entered into the search field.
You can use ads in search engines to attract potential customers. Step 1 is picking your keywords. What will people be searching for when you want to bring them to your website? If you’re a wedding photographer in Springfield, you might use “wedding photographer in Springfield”. It can be that simple. Google provides a simple keyword generator tool which can help you build a list of keywords similar to yours that people are searching.
Step 2 is to create the ads. You have a limited amount of space to get across your message. The key here is to give accurate information, and let the person know what you’re offering before they click. Because in paid search, you only pay when someone clicks on the ad. You can even use a phone number and pricing in your ad to stand out from the crowd.
Step 3 is to set your budget. One reason why paid search is a good place to start spending money is you can limit it very easily. You can spend as much or as little as you want per day, or per week, and turn it off whenever you need to. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Google AdWords and the AdWords Learning Center.
Facebook ads work a lot like paid search marketing. The ads on the right side of all pages on Facebook are easy to create and target only those people who might be interested in your services. You can use an image to call attention to your ad, and target people based on location, age, gender, and interests. In addition, you can cap the amount of money you want to spend, just like paid search. With the amount of time people spend on social media sites these days, this might be a very profitable place to advertise for a lot of people.
If you’re interested in getting started or learning more, visit the Facebook Advertising Page.
Sponsorships are an interesting form of marketing, because they’re a way to tap into an existing marketplace instead of trying to create your own. Organizations, websites, and companies are often looking for sponsors to help them launch a product, promote an event, or offer something special to their customer base.
Get a sense of who your potential customers are, and where they might be spending a lot of their time. Maybe there is an event taking place near where you work or live, and a lot of potential customers will be attending. By sponsoring the event, you’d be able to get your name in front of that audience when they buy tickets or attend the event. It gives you a little credibility because the host of the event is essentially introducing you to their audience.
Sponsorships can be very successful, but are tougher to find. You will have to do more work, researching the potential sponsorships that exist, contacting those people in charge, and negotiating the relationship. Often times you might be able to give something away for free or help them promote the event/product which can limit the monetary cost to you.
In the next edition of this series, I will ask you – the readers – for some new marketing ideas that you’ve looked into or tested and the results.
Homework: Get over the fear! The fear of spending money on marketing is something that can cause hesitation for anyone that is doing it for the first time. Use the comments below to discuss this fear and share insight and encouragement that others can use to help get past this hesitation.
Director Lv Sisi, while at the Glasgow School of Art, made this week's Video Pick that lauds the sights and sounds of analogue photography. All the clicks, hums, and whirls from a collection of antique cameras are captured in this hip-hop, almost Bring-It-On drum corps piece that uses lots of stop motion technique with over 6,000 still photographs. Sisi (available on Twitter: @ft_jelly) observed that "speed and accessibility have come at the expense of mystery, intimacy, and tactility - qualities exclusive to analogue photography." Do you miss analogue's "the way we were"?
For just $1, I entered the world of faux-film photography. It was a whimsical purchase after seeing several retro type shots taken by the multi-talented Dianna Agron of Glee. She used it as an off-camera camera, revealing the intimate side of the cast members on and off the set. Like the TV show, the Hipstamatic app soon became a household name infiltrating its way into the fabric of our society. Not a day went by where my Facebook wall wasn't littered with photos that looked like they were taken 50 years ago. Still, despite being overused at the peak of its popularity, there was an authenticity to the images that ordinary phone snaps were lacking. What some may have initially written off as a fad appeared to have staying power.
This shift was first evident after New York Times photographer Damon Winter used the app to document war in Afghanistan. Winter is a Pulitzer prize winning photographer whose work I've long admired for its creativity, and technical brilliance. Yet, when his photo story "A Grunt's Life" was awarded third place in the Pictures of the Year International contest, a flood of naysayers took to the Internet to bash the ethics of his camera selection. In his thoughtful response, Winter said "I will always stand behind these photographs and am confident in my decision that this was the right tool to tell this particular story." In studying the series of twelve photos, it's difficult to envision them any other way. The quiet, introspective moments he captured coupled with vintage aesthetics make for a telling look at life behind enemy lines.
Recently, an Associated Press article asked "How much longer can film hold on?" The number of users has plummeted dramatically, and declining sales numbers indicate impending doom. Ironically enough, the first Brownie sold in 1900 for just $1. Over a century later, it appears we have come full circle.
Here are some images I've recently taken using faux-film. They were all shot in Hipstamatic with the iPhone 4, John S lens, and Ina's 1969 film option. I'd like to hear your thoughts on this topic.