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November 24, 2006

My time-lapse photography lapses again

Whenever I see something DIY and clever involving time-lapse photography like this video of nine months of pregnancy in twenty seconds, or the man who took a picture of his face every day for six years, I am reminded how my attempts to do time-lapse photography are constantly thwarted by fate.

The first time I ever tried to do something like this was around 4 years ago, when I started taking photographs to do a time-lapse video of Walthamstow Central bus station as it was reconstructed. I had it all planned out. Each day on the way to work I got off the bus, stood at an appointed spot, used a lamp post to align my camera, and took a snap. This worked fine for a couple of weeks, and then they pulled down the lamp-post I was using as my marker. And about a week after that the spot I had been using to take the pictures was suddenly fenced off as part of the construction site itself, and that was the end of that.

Earlier this year in Crete I suddenly hit upon the idea of making a time lapse set of photographs of the house being built across the street. Each morning when I got up to make Claire her early morning coffee, I would walk out on to the balcony and take a picture of the building site which had been a daily hive of furious activity. Until, that is, I started taking photographs of it. At this point our neighbours appeared to run out of money, as for three weeks I took photograph after photograph, and they made absolutely no further progress with the house. That experiment ended when Claire finished her job, so I no longer had to get up at 6:30am each morning, and then of course I left the country.

However here in Austria I've tried again to fulfill my dream of getting a great time-lapse movie up on the web. I picked two careful spots on the walk home from work, and methodically photographed them each night on my way home from the office. I used the cross-hair on the screen of the camera against both man-made and natural landmarks so that this time I couldn't fail. I even took into account the fact that the place will get heavily snowed under, so used markers that would be above the snow level to help me position myself each day.

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What I hadn't accounted for was the clocks changing.

Suddenly, one day a couple of weeks back, thanks to the whims of international standard timekeeping, whereas the walk home had been the perfect time to take pictures of the sun setting over the Untersberg, it was now pitch black.

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Yet another accursed waste of time and effort.

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