Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Seattle Time Lapse - Take II

This time lapse was taken in front of the Old Downtown Seattle Times building. I always made sure to pass by this great piece of architecture on the way to work every day. The triangular shape of the building buffered by the busy street corners just looked too cool to ignore. Naturally, I've always wanted to photograph it, but I wanted to do it some justice when I did.

I've seen countless images of this building already, all very compelling shots. So I thought, why would I want to just copy what so many other photographers have already done? That's what brought about this time-lapse.

This project consists of a little over 1400 images sequenced together and viewed at 24 frames per second. When strung together, you get a 'motion picture' of just over a minute. I dragged the shutter on the camera while shooting in order to capture a bit of motion blur.

But, before showing you the time lapse, I do have a quick story for you that involves a rather clueless photographer and a team of Seattle's finest. I've been toying around with the idea of making an extended time lapse from scenes throughout Seattle. So, after I shot the Times Building scene, I took a run over to the Seattle bus terminal. I ran down the steps to the bus mall and found a sweet spot to set up my rig. The vantage point offered a perfect viewpoint to shoot nice and wide: incoming and outgoing buses, people everywhere and arched tunnel-ways. I was stoked and thinking, "Yeah, this is going to be an awesome urban scene!"

I set up the tripod, snapped in the camera and plugged in my intervalometer (That's the thing that make time-lapse possible. Not to be confused with a Flux Capacitor which is the thing that makes time travel possible. Well, that and a DeLoreon.) I started to line up the shot when I heard a crackling voice come over a distant two-way radio 'all units, all units, white male...beard...black jacket..has tripod and camera...suspected activity...please advise." Not knowing that I was doing a thing wrong, I thought to myself, 'Whoah, sucks to be that guy.' So, I just went back to working away on my shot. Then I thought to myself, 'Wait a second, I'm a bearded, white male with a black jacket. Oh shit.'

Quickly but calmly I started to break down my rig. It's December and I was sweating bullets. Then a tap on my shoulder. Turning around I recognized that I was officially toast. Three blue uniforms, none of them happy. I offered a grin and a handshake that were quickly shot down and met with a "Sir, what do you think you're doing over here?" With an wide eyed and innocent reply, I meekly questioned back, "Photography?" The three officers looked at each other, the realization that I was merely a harmless idiot clear in their expressions. Then the officer went on to explain that the use of photo and video equipment is illegal at bus stations in Seattle as we are technically on private property. (though I found no readily visible signs stating this fact) At this point, it looked like as I was going to skate off with a warning. I began to relax a little. It was then further explained that my actions were considered to be suspect of terrorist activity. Oh shit. How are you supposed to reply to that? So, I just stood there in awkward silence and waited for them make the next move. Knowing that if I were to reply incorrectly, my night could certainly take a turn for the worst. Seconds seemed to turn into minutes - dark, judging eyes bore down to my soul. Guessing that it was my move after all, I offered the most benign response I could come up with, "Can I file for a permit to film down here?"

That changed the entire mood of the situation. A female officer who I hadn't even noticed walked forward and explained the permit filing procedure. Then she even pointed out what she thought would be a great vantage point to shoot from. With that, I offered my business card, thanked them all for their time and got myself to the nearest bar where I could ponder what the hell had just happened.

Without further delay, the time lapse (apologies for the video quality as the file is compressed to a silly degree in order to post on the blog):

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