My housemate at Langton Labs, Matt Goodman did an amazing photography project, planting a camera in the mountains overlooking the site of burningman, and leaving it to photograph every 6 minutes for 5 weeks!
The result was 8,000 12 megapixel images of nights, days, sun rises, sunsets, dust storms, cloud formations, and of course Black Rock City coming to life and then, as quickly, fading back into the dust.
They were compiled into this an amazing video — “Playa Time: Dust to Dust” – Burning Man 2011 Time Lapse — now blowing up on YouTube. (If you haven’t yet, go see it, “like it”, share it with your friends, and then come back here.)
What stood out for me, while editing this video was the difference between night and day. The two are fascinating in their own right but worlds apart. I figured it was time for them to meet. I used my goto HDR tool Photomatix Pro to create this fusion:
The character of the night and day shots is very different, the sun providing a blanket of illumination revealing the whole scene, whereas night veils everything except for that which wishes to be seen, advertising itself through beams of photons spewed in all directions.
I call these hypertemporal HDR images, because it uses the concept of HDR to blend and align photos of different exposures, but draws from photos taken at very different times.
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I have also used the same technique to make an image of an amazing laser projector built by another of my housemates at Langton Labs:
1. I turned on bright work lights, set the camera on a tripod and took an architectural shot (highest F-stop, lowest ISO, remotely triggered, long exposure)
2. I turned off the lights, while Michael Broxton fired up the laser. I adjusted the settings for a 2-4 second exposure and blew smoke into the laser light path for the photograph until I was happy with the result. (You can’t even see me in the photo blowing smoke!)
3. I edited the photos independently using Lightroom, until I was happy that the features that each was contributing to the whole, were nicely defined. Then I merged the two using the fusion option of Photomatix Pro. (I use the Lightroom to Photomatix export plugin.)
On the internet, you realize that you never really invent something, but kind of refactor what others have already done. Here are two wonderful demonstrations of the same concept applied to generate the sense of time flowing within one photograph, and I’ll probably play with that in the future as well.
Slices of the day by Sam Javanrouh
And a full tutorial and gallery of HDTR (http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca/fun/hdtr/?gallery) “high dynamic time range”, where a single photo contains a blend of times across a full day by Martin Krzywinski:
And really, you should watch the video: