The Practicing Photographer
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The Practicing Photographer

with Ben Long

Video: Setting up an HDR time lapse

Standing out here, right now, and I've got these boy these clouds aren't actually moving that fast so, maybe I Three shots there.
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  1. 7m 16s
    1. Tips for shooting panoramas NEW
      7m 16s
  2. 1m 35s
    1. Introducing The Practicing Photographer
      1m 35s
  3. 9h 32m
    1. Choosing a camera
      5m 27s
    2. Looking at light as a subject
      2m 22s
    3. Using a small reflector to add fill light
      5m 45s
    4. Editing photo metadata with PhotosInfo Pro for iPad
      6m 30s
    5. Let your lens reshape you
      7m 26s
    6. Compositing street photography images with Photoshop
      7m 44s
    7. Expand your filter options with step-up and step-down rings
      3m 56s
    8. Shooting without a memory card
      3m 6s
    9. Give yourself a year-long assignment
      5m 28s
    10. Working with reflections
      1m 26s
    11. Exploring mirrorless cameras
      7m 25s
    12. Batch processing photos with the Adobe Image Processor
      7m 30s
    13. Limiting yourself to a fixed-focal-length lens
      2m 13s
    14. Creating tiny worlds: Shooting technique
      4m 15s
    15. Creating tiny worlds: Post-processing techniques
      11m 41s
    16. Shooting macro shots on an iPhone
      3m 18s
    17. Using a tripod
      3m 33s
    18. Wildlife and staying present
      5m 58s
    19. Batch exposure adjustments on raw files
      6m 52s
    20. Why Shoot Polaroid
      11m 12s
    21. Seizing an opportunity
      4m 4s
    22. Four photographers do a light-as-subject exercise
      12m 24s
    23. Shooting macro bug photos with a reversed lens
      4m 54s
    24. Varnishing a photo for a painterly effect
      13m 36s
    25. Shooting wildlife
      7m 24s
    26. Discussion on how to shoot architecture
      12m 27s
    27. Using a lens hood
      4m 48s
    28. Working with themes
      2m 48s
    29. Setting up an HDR time lapse
      7m 55s
    30. Processing an HDR time lapse
      7m 55s
    31. Two perspectives on travel photography
      12m 28s
    32. Scanning Photos
      5m 37s
    33. Photo assignment: shooting an egg
      3m 13s
    34. Reviewing the egg shot images
      6m 47s
    35. Shooting in your own backyard
      4m 38s
    36. Jpeg iPad import process
      3m 17s
    37. Shooting a product shot in open shade
      9m 34s
    38. Reviewing the product shot images
      4m 5s
    39. Warming up
      3m 26s
    40. Taking a panning action shot
      10m 17s
    41. Scanning polaroid negatives and processing in Photoshop
      8m 17s
    42. Shooting a silhouette
      3m 9s
    43. Going with an ultra-light gear configuration
      5m 29s
    44. Working with masks and calculations in Photoshop
      12m 38s
    45. Working with flash for macro photography
      4m 56s
    46. Colorizing a black and white photo in Photoshop
      5m 10s
    47. Using duct tape and zip ties in the field
      4m 14s
    48. When the on camera flash is casting a shadow
      3m 4s
    49. Using Lightroom on the road
      6m 28s
    50. Listening to your camera to get good exposure
      2m 20s
    51. Shooting a successful self portrait with a phone
      7m 18s
    52. Switching to Lightroom from another application
      9m 48s
    53. Photographing animals in wildlife refuges
      6m 41s
    54. Shooting level
      2m 42s
    55. Photoshop and Automator
      8m 54s
    56. Shooting when the light is flat
      3m 23s
    57. Discussing the business of stock photography
      9m 48s
    58. Shooting tethered to a monitor
      3m 21s
    59. Making a 360 degree panorama on the iPhone
      4m 45s
    60. Understanding the three flash setup
      3m 34s
    61. Shooting a three flash portrait
      4m 6s
    62. Understanding the differences with third party lenses
      4m 43s
    63. Understanding why files look different on depending on device
      5m 25s
    64. Working with a geotagging app on the iPhone
      4m 43s
    65. Using high speed flash sync to dim ambient light
      7m 29s
    66. Using your iPad as a second monitor
      5m 46s
    67. Understanding exposure with a leaf shutter camera
      3m 28s
    68. Photography practice through mimicry
      8m 8s
    69. Canon wireless flash with built in radio control
      5m 59s
    70. Posing and shooting pairs of people
      5m 35s
    71. Shooting with a shape in mind
      3m 15s
    72. Shooting tethered to a laptop
      4m 40s
    73. Softboxes vs. umbrellas
      2m 55s
    74. Getting your project out into the world
      6m 25s
    75. Exploring how to think about shooting a new environment
      3m 56s
    76. Discussing the book "The Passionate Photographer" with Steve Simon
      6m 4s
    77. Highlighting iOS 8 updates on the iPhone5S
      10m 46s
    78. Exploring manual controls with iOS 8 and ProCamera
      5m 30s
    79. Understanding how to compose with an empty sky
      4m 54s
    80. Using an iPhone to make a print in the darkroom
      7m 16s
    81. How to use glycerin as a photography tool
      2m 16s
    82. Understanding micro focus adjustment and Lens Align
      11m 19s
    83. Working with hair in post
      3m 28s
    84. Taking a quick portrait and directing a subject
      5m 50s
    85. Getting inspired through the work of others
      11m 22s
    86. Taking a flattering portrait with flash
      4m 21s
    87. Creating an unaligned HDR image
      3m 3s
    88. Exploring how to use Bokeh
      5m 38s
    89. Shooting stills from a drone
      6m 57s
    90. Using a monitor to get a first person view of the aerial camera
      8m 0s
    91. Understanding lens profile correction
      5m 33s
    92. Working with models
      2m 40s
    93. Understanding the labels on SD cards
      10m 32s
    94. Setting up a macro time lapse of a flower
      6m 18s
    95. Taking a portrait that's tightly cropped or slightly obscured
      3m 24s

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Watch the Online Video Course The Practicing Photographer
9h 41m Appropriate for all May 16, 2013 Updated Mar 05, 2015

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In The Practicing Photographer, photographer and teacher Ben Long shares a weekly serving of photographic instruction and inspiration. Each installment focuses on a photographic shooting scenario, a piece of gear, or a software technique. Each installment concludes with a call to action designed to inspire you to pick up your camera (or your mouse or smartphone) to try the technique for yourself.

Ben Long

Setting up an HDR time lapse

Standing out here, right now, and I've got these really great, big, poofy, pooficus nimbus clouds, or something up here that are really beautiful, and one thing that can really work well for shooting pictures of clouds. Is to attack them with an HDR scenario. You'll get a whole lot of really fine kind of filigree texture around the end. But another thing about clouds is, they move, particularly here in Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plains. And a great way to handle moving objects is to shoot a time lapse, so that you can see the clouds.

Billow across the sky. This week on The Practicing Photographer, we're going to look at how to combine those two things. We're going to shoot an HDR time lapse, so that we can see the movement of the clouds. But with HDR, we're going to get a whole bunch of extra detail in them. Now, for this to work, you need a few things. First of all, for, or for an HDR time lapse to work, you need a few things. First of all, you need an HDR scene. You need a high dynamic range. Scene. This scene is not super high dynamic range but because clouds respond to HDR treatment in in such a nice way, I am going to, I do think this is worth doing HDR on.

Second thing is you need, all the stuff you need to, to do time lapse. That is a tripod and an intervalometer. An intervalometer. Let's you shoot intervals. It will take control of the camera and shoot a shot at regular intervals. Our thing is we need three shots at regular intervals, and those shots need to be bracketed. Now. It helps if you're going to watch the rest of this if you have some familiarity with HDR, high dynamic range imaging. And I've got a whole course on that that you can check out that'll walk you through all of the normal HDR imaging process.

Our goal is to frame up a shot, get our camera configured, get our intervalometer configured, and then let it sit here and just shoot away for a couple of hours. When it's done, we will take that resulting mass of images, and process them into a bunch of HDR images. We will then take those, and put them into some software that will let us output an actual movie that we can watch. So I've framed up a shot here that I like, and I'm just doing kind of just normal composition stuff, finding a. Way of representing clouds and the landscape in a nice way. What I need to do now is get the camera configured.

So, I'm just going to do my normal HDR configuration. Which is I'm going, for this type of shot at least. I'm going into aperture priority. I want to be sure that depth of field stays the same throughout my entire HDR bracket. So I'm going to dial in an aperture of F8. This is not a full frame camera. This is a crop sensor camera. So at F8 I know that. I'm not going to start seeing a softening of the image due to diffraction artifacts. I'm going to put my ISO down a little bit.

I'm not planning on letting this go into very low light, so I'm going to knock it back down to 100 because the HDR merging process can be a little bit unforgiving of noise, so I want to be sure that I have no noise. I need Auto-Bracketing turned on. So I'm going to drop in here to the Bracketing controls and create a three step auto-bracket with the bracket set to one-stop apart. So it's going to, a bracketed set will be a shot at normal exposure, a shot one stop under, and one shot.

One stop over. So I've got that dialed in. That didn't take, hang on. The thing about these Cannon cameras is that if you don't hit the set button, it doesn't actually store your setting. So, I'm at F11, ISO 100. I've got my three step auto-bracketing turned on. The last thing I need is Drive mode, or Burst mode. This camera has two different Drive modes, a regular one, which shoots at about five frames per second. And a slower one which shoots at about three frames per second. I want that slow one. I want three frames per second because of the way my intervalometer works.

We'll get back to that in a second. So do I have everything? I've got my metering set to Matrix metering. ISO 100, my, my drive mode is on at the right speed. I'm at F8 and I've got bracketing turned on. The reason I want to be real careful about this. Is I don't want to spend two hours shooting up all this stuff. Only to find out that I forgot to turn off, Black and White mode, or something. Oh, actually, that's a thing. What format do I want to shoot in? Right now. I am, set for shooting in raw, because that's where I would normally shoot.

I'm actually not going to do these in raw. Raw images take up a tremendous amount of space, and a tremendous amount of processing time. There are advantages to having raw when working with single shot HDR images, because, or not single shot, but when working with just a single HDR set, I could go in and do highlight recovery if I needed to. I'm not going to get that finiky about the processing here. So I don't want all that extra data to deal with because it's going to slow down my post production. So I'm going to go in here and switch to the highest quality JPEG setting that I have, which is still going to be a tremendous amount of data.

Actually. A larger frame size then I need since ultimately I'm going to video. I'm going to stick with that that full size because it gives me room to crop if I want to later, it gives me the opportunity to run a video editing program to push in on the on the video, so I'm just going to go ahead and stay with that, got a nice big card in here. Now this is a third party intervalometer. This is not the Cannon intervalometer. You can find these, they're great. This takes two triple A batteries. They've got all the functionality you need. You can get them for 25, 30 bucks from B&H, Adorama, Amazon.

The features I'm looking for are the ability to set how long the Shutter button is held down. I want it held down for one second, because at this drive speed, holding the shutter button down for one second takes three pictures, and I'm configured for a three-step bracket. So I'm just going to go in here and set the length to one second. And as you can see, I can actually set this to hold it down for hours. So if I was doing some astro-photography or something, this would be a way to do that. So, I'm set there. Now, I'm ready to move on to my interval. And I'm going to have this go boy these clouds aren't actually moving that fast so, maybe I can get away with slightly longer interval to get a little motion.

So, I'm going to say, every ten seconds. So I'm just dialing that up to 10. Finally I can tell it how many to do. If I wanted to shoot a very particular length movie. I could do the calculation of three frames every ten seconds, I want to end up with 20 seconds of finished video. At 24 frames per second, would end up being X number of shots. I'm just going to leave it set, basically on infinity. It's just going to go until I tell it to stop. And I think that's everything. I often don't figure that out until I've actually started the process and hear that something's going wrong.

I'm going to go ahead and start this up now. My shot is still set, my tripod is locked down, the camera is stabilized, if it was much windier I might want to take this strap off because that could be jostling the camera around, and, I'm just going to tell it to start and it should right away, fire a burst. Three shots there. It's now going to count down for ten seconds. And then it should fire another three. If it fires four or two, I'm in trouble, because, there were three, because then my auto-bracketing is out of whack. Then I'm getting two frames of one set, and then ten seconds later, getting the third one of another set and the first two of another.

So you've really gotta be sure that your timing works. Not all cameras will do this. We actually set up earlier with a 5D mark two, and it's drive speed is four frames per second, so I couldn't actually do it with this intervalometer. At that point, you're going to want an intervalometer that gives you a little more control. Or, what you might want to do Is tether it to a computer and use, in this case, Cannon's remote control software to set up the whole process because that gives you a little more power. But as far as a very easily portable, inexpensive, easy way to to HDR time lapse, an intervalometer like this works really well.

So. Now it's time to go relax and eat dinner and cool my heels while this nice little intervalometer robot does all my work for me. I'm going to end up with a whole bunch of images that I'm going to need to process, and in the next movie, we're going to take a look at how to do that.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about The Practicing Photographer .

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Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.
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