A Guest Post by Clayton McLaughlin
There are a lot of tutorials out there that introduce the practice of shooting timelapses with a variety of different cameras. All of which can help you get started. But as with any situation, I’ve found there are a few things that have helped me along the way that I never read in a tutorial online.
1. Use velcro to secure the wireless trigger
Using a remote trigger does two things that are important to timelapse photography. First the intervalometer built into a lot of triggers does the tiring work of taking photos at a regular interval. Second, it allows you to be hands free from the camera, reducing the dreaded camera shake. But if you just wrap the trigger around the tripod, or even just drop it once it’s plugged in, a stiff breeze will blow that wire around and shake the camera. Defeats the purpose of using the trigger and the tripod.
My solution. I put a piece of velcro on my tripod leg and the corresponding piece on the back of the remote trigger. The wire stays wrapped up in a twisty-tie to avoid long cords dangling in the wind or just asking to get snagged on my sleeve.
2. Bring a notebook
Or use your phone to take notes. Having something to take notes will allow you to write down camera settings for immediate use (switching from AP to Manual mode to grab settings via in-camera light meter) and for future use (reference for settings to avoid star trails for instance). Personally I use Evernote on my phone amp; sync the app across all my computers. This provides an (almost) always available database of information that I can utilize. Think of it as a photography diary. Every time I shoot I try to create a new note about something I learned. When I get in a rut, I just look back at my notes. This is a habit I picked up from playing golf and it’s worked very well for my photography.
3. Download Google maps to your phone
This tip will likely not apply to everyone in every situation, but I’m giving it nonetheless. If you plan on hiking to a spot, or you’re just heading to am unfamiliar area, download that region to your phone via Google Maps. Then if you lose service you don’t need to depend on the network to provide the map. GPS always works so you can find your way still. Here’s a quick YouTube tutorial: Google Maps Offline
4. Bring a Small Red LED flashlight
This is a night time tip. It’s obviously hard to see in the dark, and the little light that you do get from your camera will go away once you start taking the pictures. If you’re shooting the stars, then this little tool will be especially handy because astrophotography is generally at it’s finest when there is the least amount of light pollution. The red color is better on your eyes in darkness and it isn’t as noticeable to the camera sensor.
Unless you’re a professional that shoots 9 cameras at once, you will likely setup the timelapse and then have to wait… a long time. So be prepared to keep yourself entertained. For me this includes my iPod and a phone with full battery to play games, write blogs, check sports scores, etc. If you’re into crossword puzzles, bring several. Timelapse photography is a waiting game.
6. Keep everything warm during cold weather shoots
This includes you and your gear. Put on enough layers to make you sweat when inside. Then put on one more before leaving the house. You won’t be moving around much so put on enough to keep you warm as you sit still for hours. I would recommend buying hunting gloves that let you pull the fingers back so you can easily changes settings, etc.
As for your gear, buy the hand warmers that are available in every retail store and gas station in the country. Place all of your extra batteries in a pocket with this warmers. I gene