Timelapse: The Lake by Geoff Tompkinson

‘The Lake’ from geoff tompkinson on Vimeo.

Geoff Tompkinson has created a mini-masterpiece with his time-lapse film “The Lake”, featuring Lake Hallstadt.

Geoff writes:

“Lake Hallstatt has been referred to as the “melancholic lake”, the “still fjord” and the “vision of a perfect mountain lake”. It is a classic relic of the Ice Age and it has a total area of 858 square metres lying between the steep Obertraun and Hallstatt mountains and Bad Goisern. It is the fifth largest of the Salzkammergut lakes.

Although this lake is one of the darker, colder, less inviting lakes of the region, as a photographer I decided to use this darkness and stillness as a device to reveal the true beauty of the lake through its mirror-like surface.”

Timelapse: EARTHEREAL II

During the past couple of years the visiting crews of the International Space Station (ISS) shot some truly awe-inspiring time-lapse sequences flying over practically every square mile of the globe.

Perhaps not busy enough with my own time-lapse projects, I downloaded the high-resolution image sets made available by the NASA Johnson Space Center and constructed this short time-lapse film.

The film project required the processing of more than 84GB of data (amounting to more than 66K JPEG images). It could be easily appreciated that the astronauts encountered very challenging lighting conditions in orbit. Often, it was necessary for the ISS crew to shoot at high ISO values in order to achieve the desired exposure. In order to get the smooth, contrasty look I was aiming for, I used the tools provided by Adobe Lightroom to increase contrast and drastically reduce the noise in the NASA images. The results speak for themselves, as the opening sequences could almost justify a subtitle like “Alien Earth Edition”, such is the surreal nature of these unique views of our home planet from the perspective of the ISS in low earth orbit.

Images courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center available here.

Cameras: Nikon D2X and D3S

Lenses: 28-70mm f/2.8, 14-24mm f/2.8, 17-35mm f/2.8, 28mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4

Technique: The majority of the images were shot at 1 second intervals, ISO 200-12800.

Post Processing:
:: Downloaded more than 40K hi-res images from NASA for this project
:: Image sets adjusted in Adobe Lightroom 4 (i.e. exposure, contrast and noise reduction)
:: Image sets imported into an Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 2K 24p project
:: Used GBDeflicker for the image sets with shorter exposure times. Highly recommended.
:: Exported as 2048×1024 24p MP4 @ 35Mbps

Soundtrack: “Sunlight” by machinimasound.com licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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Timelapse: Hurtigruten’s Norway

Welcome aboard Hurtigruten’s MS Polarlys for a whirlwind tour of the Norwegian coast accompanied by the hauntingly beautiful “Morning Mood”, composed by Edvard Grieg in 1875.

 
The time-lapse sequences were shot in late August 2012 using an Olympus OM-D E-M5 married to a Zeiss Distagon T* 2/35 ZF.2 lens (via a Novoflex adapter).

 
I would like to warmly thank both the crew and fellow passengers on board the MS Polarlys for their kind understanding, interest and support during my ‘filming’ activities on deck. This classic Hurtigruten voyage is the ideal means through which to access the pristine beauty of the wilderness beyond the Arctic Circle.

 
For all the hardware freaks, here’s a comprehensive list of the equipment used:

 
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M5 + HLD-6 Battery Grip
Storage: SanDisk Extreme Pro 64GB Class 10 SDXC
Intervalometer: Phottix Aion Wireless Digital Timer and Remote
Lens Adapter: Novoflex MFT/NIK Micro 4/3 to Nikon F Adapter
Lens: Zeiss Distagon T* 2/35 ZF.2
Filter: Schneider 77mm True-Match Vari-ND and B+W 77mm 110 ND 3.0
Filter Adapter Rings: B+W 62EI-58ESA and 77EI-62EA (58mm to 77mm step-up)
Tripod: Manfrotto MT057C3 + MH055M0-Q2 Magnesium Ball Head
Clamp: Manfrotto Super Clamp 035

 
Technique: Manual camera settings. The desired exposure was obtained by rotating the outer ring of the variable ND filter with the aim to underexpose by around 1/3 of a stop. With ISO, shutter speed and lens aperture fixed, the ND filter is the only adjustment available!

 
Post Processing:
:: Image sets adjusted in Adobe Lightroom 4
:: Image sets imported into an Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 2K 24p project
:: Exported as 2048×1024 24p MP4 @ 35Mbps

 
Soundtrack: “Peer Gynt Suite Nr. 1 Op. 46 (Morgenstemning, 1875)” by the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (1843-1907).

Essay: Robert Frank’s “Trolley – New Orleans (1955)”

Robert Frank’s “Trolley – New Orleans (1955)” Photograph © Robert Frank, from The Americans


Robert Frank was born in Switzerland in 1924 and raised in a Jewish household in Zurich. He moved to New York in 1947. His photo essay, “The Americans,” resulted from a journey that he undertook by car starting in June 1955 during which he photographed the people and places that he encountered along the way. In fact, he took some twenty-seven thousand photographs which he eventually whittled down to the 83 images that were published in book-form in 1958. Frank’s book evoked strong reactions from many quarters at the time of its publication. He was even accused of being “unAmerican” – perhaps due to the critical commentary on contemporary urban life in America that was delivered by his stark black & white imagery.

I was particularly drawn to this image of the trolley car taken by Frank in New Orleans, due to its depiction of social degradation resulting from the racial segregation of those times. Robert’s framing of this picture delivers a sharp, metaphorically driven focus on the distinctions being made in society at that time between the rights of “whites” and “blacks”. We, as present-day viewers, can only be revolted that such ignorance and prejudice could in any way have existed. However, at the time of the publication of this photographic collection, there was a certain degree of outrage about the “unAmerican” reporting that had been carried out by Robert Frank. Such reactions from the past and present give lie to any assertion that the image itself is essentially benign, despite the fact that there is no violence of any kind depicted.

The subject of this photo is the ordinary citizens of New Orleans, going about their business, and peering through the windows of the trolley car. This has been made clear through the framing of this photograph, which deliberately excludes all other paraphernalia that might distract the viewer’s attention. Indeed, we understand that Frank meticulously cropped many of the images prior to publication. The tension in this scene is clearly palpable through the stern and miserable face of the woman who has her hands clasped tightly upon her purse. And then there is the stark contrast between the white boy and black man behind him. They’re clearly different colors. They’re quite obviously a generation apart in age. But the viewer is unwittingly drawn to the disarmingly similar gesture of the two, with their arms leaning on the window of the trolley car.

I consider that this image is far from innocent. Its depiction of a perfectly ordinary urban scene fails to mask the smouldering malevolence of racial segregation, with whites at the front of the trolley car and blacks behind. This, I would argue, was the photographer’s intent. Back in the mid-fifties, to actually present opinion on this subject matter in written form – to dare to question the sense and purpose of the inequalities arising from racial segregation – would simply not have been tolerated by the political class. Especially coming as it would have from an “alien” and a “Jew!” It would have been inconceivable to even consider it. Because words are powerful. They can be misappropriated, ultimately judged and even prosecuted. Words take on a life of their own. But Frank managed to make a statement about what he saw. Not by unequivocally writing it down black-on-white; but cleverly – and perhaps not a little devilishly – through the publication of his photographs in black-and-white.

Apart from being appreciated technically, a photograph is ultimately treated subjectively. And Frank was highly circumspect with his descriptions of the images in the first edition of his book. He left the burden of interpretation almost entirely upon the viewer. This was his masterstroke. Many years later writing text to accompany the auction of this very picture, Frank observed: “life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference. Opinion often consists of a kind of criticism. But criticism can come out of love. It is important to see what is invisible to others.” Clearly, and even without the benefit of hindsight, Frank was not (and could not) be indifferent to what he saw and photographed. One should recall the background of those times. Frank had emigrated from a Europe that had been torn apart by the barbarism of Hitler’s ideological war. As targets of hatred during that dreadful period, Frank and his family would have experienced hardship at best and the threat of extermination at worst. Essentially, Frank had intimate personal experience about the ultimate path that blind racial intolerance could follow. My interpretation of his decision to publish this photographic essay was that he felt a duty of care to highlight exactly those dangers. Frank’s images served as a “wake-up call” to American society. He saw what others did not; what had hitherto been invisible.

I would assert that the conclusion to be drawn by the viewer of this photograph is quite naturally: “what is the sense of this inequality?” And that conclusion would be drawn regardless of whether one is viewing this image at the time of its publication or with the benefit of hindsight today.

Image source: Los Angeles Times (accessed on May 6, 2012).

References:

Lane, Anthony. “Road Show: The journey of Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans.’”
The New Yorker (accessed on May 6, 2012).

Wada, Karen. “The making of Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans.’”
Los Angeles Times – Culture Monster (accessed on May 6, 2012).

Lawrence, Sidney. “Perfectly Frank.”
Artnet (accessed on May 6, 2012).

Christie’s Auction House (accessed on May 6, 2012).
“Lot Description: Robert Frank (b. 1924) Trolley – New Orleans, 1955 gelatin silver print”

Timelapse: EARTHEREAL

The International Space Station Expedition 30 crew shot some truly awe-inspiring time-lapse sequences flying over practically every square mile of the globe.

I downloaded the high-resolution image sets made available by the NASA Johnson Space Center and constructed this short time-lapse film in hi-res 2K project format. I was amazed at how clean the Nikon D3S images turned out (even at ISO 3200 and above) which kept the post-processing requirements to a minimum.

Here’s a list of the time-lapse sequences used:

:: 20120303 Kenya to the Aurora Australis
:: 20120310 Atlantic Ocean East to New Zealand
:: 20120304 Aurora Australis over the Indian Ocean 2
:: 20120310 Aurora Australis over the Indian Ocean
:: 20120208 Aurora Borealis from the Pacific Ocean to the U.S. Coast
:: 20120310 Over the Terminator
:: 20120204 Moonglow over Canada and Northern U.S
:: 20120304 Central United States at Daytime
:: 20120204 Aurora Borealis over Canada
:: 20120310 ISS from Atlantic Ocean to Ukraine
:: 20120202 Aurora Borealis over the North Atlantic Ocean
:: 20120203 Aurora Borealis from U.S. to Atlantic Ocean
:: 20120202 Aurora Borealis over Canada
:: 20120205 Over the Northern United States and Canada
:: 20120310 Heading Towards Aurora Australis
:: 20120102 Looking Nadir Central America to New England
:: 20120109 Moonset over the Atlantic Ocean
:: 20120102 Mediterranean Sea to Kazakhstan
:: 20120101 Down the Persian Gulf at Night
:: 20120129 Aurora Borealis over Northern North America and Canada
:: 20120122 Aurora Borealis from Pacific Ocean
:: 20111230 Africa to Kazakhstan
:: 20120102 Mongolia to the Sea of Okhotsk
:: 20111229 Day Pass over the Dunes in Africa to Snow-Covered Kazakhstan
:: 20111231 South Atlantic Ocean to Iran
:: 20120130 Central Great Plains at Night
:: 20111211 Aurora Borealis over the North Atlantic Ocean
:: 20120204 Moonglow over Canada and Northern U.S
:: 20120201 Aurora Borealis over the Atlantic Ocean

Images courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center available here.

Cameras: Nikon D2X and D3S

Lenses: 28-70mm f/2.8, 14-24mm f/2.8, 17-35mm f/2.8, 28mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4

Technique: The majority of the images were shot at 1 second intervals, ISO 200-12800.

Post Processing:
:: Downloaded more than 16K hi-res images from NASA for this project
:: Image sets adjusted in Adobe Lightroom 3.6
:: Image sets imported into an Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 2K 24p project
:: Used GBDeflicker for the image sets with shorter exposure times. Highly recommended.
:: Exported as 2048×1024 24p MP4 @ 35Mbps

Soundtrack: “Rallying the Defense” by machinimamound.com licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Creative Commons