In addition to digging into Google Maps, this summer was also an opportunity to explore the world of photography. I haven't owned an SLR camera since my old 35mm Canon T70 died back in the early 90's. Things have changed a lot and my new Nikon D5000 has some pretty impressive features. For those you hardcore photographers this is just an "entry level DSLR", but for me it was a major step up from the point & shoots I've been using up to now.
One feature I'm really enjoying is the Interval Timer feature. This allows me to set the camera to take a certain number of pictures at a specific time interval. This is a great way to capture a series of images that can be combined either inside the camera or using video editing software like iMovie, Movie Maker. For example, I was able to capture time-lapse images of storm clouds moving over Lake Powell this summer. To create the sequences below, I put the camera on a tripod and set it to take one picture every 10 seconds for about 60 frames.
The ability to shoot time-lapse has lots of creative possibilities as well as some science applications too. Things to remember:
- Make sure the camera doesn't move while you're capturing images. After seeing the results of my first few attempts, I learned that it was better to set the tripod on the ground because the houseboat moves.
- Don't use the maximum resolution of your camera. You don't need a 3000 x 4000 pixel image if you're making a video. Besides, you'll fit a lot more on your memory card if you scale it back a little. The best HD video resolution is only 1920 X 1080.
- Make sure you have a full battery charge or, if you have an AC adapter, plug your camera into a power source. A lot of time can be wasted if your camera dies during your interval shoot.
- Experiment & have fun. Just like the Hokey Pokey - "That's what it's all about."