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Twenty-six more photographs of Alder Street

May 16, 2017

My blog is already littered with countless still photos of the downtown Vancouver skyline as seen from one rather sweet spot on Alder Street, located on the north side of West Broadway Avenue.

Some of these photos show the sunrise reflecting off the downtown skyscrapers first thing in the morning; others capture the lights of the skyline after the sun goes down and some photos even contrive to show dawn and dusk together.

But until now, none of these photos has moved.

The above YouTube video is a little 26-frame time-lapse I threw together of the view downtown, looking north from Alder Street and West Broadway Avenue. The photos were taken with my 16 megapixel Pentax WG-3 point-and-shoot camera, sans tripod, from May 5, 2017 to May 16, 2017, between the hours of about 7 a.m. and 12 midnight. I’ve padded the sequence with fading steps to buffer the choppiness caused by the lack of a tripod.

I began taking the photos with no particular plan and I stopped when I had the bare minimum number needed for a sequence because, frankly, I was tired of matching them together.

It didn’t help that I began taking the photographs with seven steps of zoom—a zoom setting which the WG-3 would not perfectly match photo-to-photo. This necessitated a lot more scaling and tedious playing around than I anticipated.

For this time-lapse, I did all of the image manipulation, scaling, frame dissolves and titling as sequentially numbered layers in the open source image editing program GIMP. I used the “export-layers.py” plug-in to export the finished layers to individual JPEG images with 92 percent compression.

I then imported the JPEG images into Windows Movie Maker, which, up until January, 2017, was free to download from Microsoft as part of the Windows Essentials bundle. In Movie Maker I gave each image frame a duration of 0.13 seconds and saved the entirety to an MP4 video file for High Definition Display.

In the future I’ll try a long-duration time-lapse with no zoom and, if not with a tripod, at least with a methodology, for example—taking one un-zoomed photo from the same spot every day at 4 p.m. and letting nature change the lighting over the course of a year.

And I think I’ll add the titling in the video editor, rather than in GIMP and maybe even throw in some music. Nothing’s too good for my audience!

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