A History of the British Sky

I have compiled the following time-lapse video, inspired by Ken Murphy’s “A History of the Sky”.  Ken’s time-lapse is actually a mosaic of 360 smaller individual movies, each showing the San Francisco sky throughout a single day.  The result is a brilliant and unique visualisation of an entire year of weather in just a few minutes.

I present Her Majesty’s equivalent, “A History of the British Sky”, recorded from the top of a building near the Welsh border.  I’m sure you’ll agree that the time taken to process over 3 million individual photographs is repaid ten times over in this video.  Such a wealth of information in one view; it’s a feast for the eyes.  You can see the change in the length of the British day, for example. And you can clearly pick out the season of summer.

EDIT: Positive responses to A History of the British Sky:

“I always knew you could get different shades of grey, but never so many different types of grey.” -Gordon

“I can see summer! It’s up in the top-right!” -Tina

“This particular year looks drier than most.” -Margaret

Seriously though, I’d like to thank Ken for his original and actually genuine creation, which, unlike my version, took an awful lot of commitment and skill to pull off.  Such a cool idea!

Astrocinemagraphy (not a real term)

AAT cinemagraphHere, I just had a stab at making a cinemagraph of the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) using frames from colleague Ángel R. López-Sánchez‘ excellent time-lapse movie “A 2dF night at the Anglo-Australian Telescope”.  Ángel is an astrophysicist at the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) and spends a lot of time using the AAT for his research.

As for the image, I made it with Adobe After Effects.

Aligning sun images using Python

Sun RAW frame collage

Fix it in post. It’s a common phrase in photography and one which is widely recognised as landing you in hot water if you’re not careful. Fix it in post-production, fix it after the fact. “Hm, I’ll just fix that in post.”

Well when I spent a day taking a few hundred photos of Venus crossing the sun last year with the intention of creating a time-lapse but without a tracking system, “fix it post” was my mantra by necessity. For 7 hours I followed the sun across the sky just by nudging my camera mount this way or that. As a result the sun was in a different place in every photo. The fact I wasn’t standing on the equator at the time meant it rotated too. Continue reading

Transit of Venus 2012 time-lapse

Venus passed in front of the sun on 6th June 2012, and all the while I was happily photographing it from tropical North Queensland.  Here is the time-lapse of all the photos I took throughout the day.  The music is by Kevin Macleod – thanks Kevin! Continue reading

Graphically verifying time-lapse intervals using ExifTool (and Excel)

Timestamp plot - annotated

Here’s a quick and easy way to check time-lapse intervals using a combination of ExifTool, (a great command-line application for reading and writing image EXIF data) and a program such as Excel to process and plot the data. Continue reading

Hyperlapse photography test using existing structures

I’ve long been a bit of a time-lapse junkie, so when I saw this video of Moscow a few months ago I was really impressed. People have started calling this technique ‘hyperlapse’, and it’s a combination of time-lapse photography with a large but calculated movement of the camera between shots. I thought I’d have a go without using any special rigs or mounts – instead of worrying about moving the camera precise distances, I thought I’d find some existing structure to do the measuring for me.

Continue reading