Since I started encountering telephotos in incrementing focal lengths, as well as sturdier tripods and heads. Using them in time-lapse became a challenge.
On one side, sharp imagery with a long telephoto can be achieved with good gear, smart mounting and handling techniques. On the other side, sequences have their own problematic, which usually do not affect shooting individual photographs.
(I will one day cover the photography deficiencies that have no effect on single photographs and become a major drawback when shooting sequences)
In any reflex camera, the mirror flap when triggering leads to a significant camera shake. That shake is amplified the longer the lens gets (inertial blur).
This type of shake, if overcome by high shutter speeds in individual photos, becomes again a major problem when shooting long exposures…as well a shooting a time-lapse and HDR.
A stabilized shoot, @ 680mm with 1 second interval
Typical wind and mirror shake timelapse (2010)
The discrepancy in a time-lapse is the following: once a sharp photo is taken, it is almost impossible to the camera to return to the absolute same position of the previous shot. Every thing is amplified again the longer the telephoto. The minute shake on the camera will become meters in the frame.
I have tried a lot of contradicted approaches to stabilize telephotos some were relatively successful. And some looked like wacky contraptions.Using the “mirror-up” function is irrelevant because the same shake when it gets lifted. Setting delays for the camera to settle is also impractical because you need the shortest intervals to get a fluid time-lapse.
I have a plan to remove the mirror mechanics from a high-end DSLR. I used mirrorless camera, the result was prominent but the cameras used where not “handy” for doing time-lapses.
A Blend of the Shaky Sunset with the Stable Moonrise Timelapse
I’ll be pleased to discuss any idea you have about these issues
Leaving the technicalities aside and back to the essence, here are excerpts of a 500 photo sequence of mountain morning light hitting the smokes of charcoal. Carefully selected by Antoine Al Alam.
Shot at 1020mm focal equivalent . 400mm x 1.7 teleconverter x 1.5 crop (Nikon D2xs)
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