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Wyoming's stunning weather and landscapes in time-lapse

By dpreview staff on Jan 15, 2014 at 06:00 GMT
Photographer Nicolaus Wegner's dedication to his craft has produced a captivating time-lapse video of the wild weather and beautiful landscapes of his home state. In the 14 months it took him to complete his Wyoming Wildscapes II project, he saw it all — from meteor showers, to lightning across hills and prairies, and 60mph winds.   
According to Wegner's website, consider some of the numbers behind the making of the video: 
  • 150 days of driving, walking, backpacking, shooting, and exploring. 
  • 20,000 miles driven.
  • 100+ miles hiked in the wilderness and back country with a pack full of cameras, lenses, time-lapse gear, and a slider.
  • 125,000 stills taken over the entire project. 
  • 20,000 photographs in the video that runs at 24fps, 1920x1080.
  • 75 sequences in the video. 
  • 3 weeks of burning up hard drive space processing, rendering, re-processing, re-rendering, re-processing. 
To see more of Wegner's work and learn more about the video, visits his website

Comments

Total comments: 231
123
Anstup ID
By Anstup ID (3 months ago)

!...

0 upvotes
AaronBHicks
By AaronBHicks (3 months ago)

I believe the negative comments are completely unwaranted. More than anything, such comments ring of insecurity and inadequacy in the posters themselves. I challenge said pretentious posters to produce their own work of equal quality.

As for the presentation itself, the dedication in making this compilation really shines through. Well done, and it was an absolute pleasure to watch.

1 upvote
Tord S Eriksson
By Tord S Eriksson (3 months ago)

You call me names, just because I dared to be critical?!

Ho, ho ho, here goes the freedom of speech! The infidel dares to have a personal opinion!

Just because the subject is interesting, a movie doesn't automatically becomes great, it is so much more that need to click for any kind of move to be great!

It is like praising a movie just because the actors are famous, and the technological details are perfect, but the script is rotten, the editing slap-hazard, and so on.

Just because you would have loved to be part of the quest (this movie sure is a great undertaking), the movie doesn't automatically become great!

I love reading the reviews on IMDB, when just a handful have seen a new film, evidently all employees of the movie company! Not a single one of them finds anything to say but praise the movie, no matter if it is Jaws 23, or Mega Piranas.

1 upvote
Kim Letkeman
By Kim Letkeman (3 months ago)

@Tord -- Your arguments here are so obvious that they come off as simplistic. Critical thought would be of more use than platitudes, and to have any hope of doing that I suspect that you should actually watch the whole movie this time. :-)

2 upvotes
NikonGeff
By NikonGeff (3 months ago)

Mr Eriksson, remember the movie Grumpy Old Men?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
UtenteMac
By UtenteMac (3 months ago)

Astonishing.

1 upvote
Prairie Pal
By Prairie Pal (3 months ago)

The slides become monotonous quickly even after the 4 minute mark when basically all that changes is the concentration of the sky movement. Yes the image quality is very high and the exposure is perfect. But slide after slide after slide is extremely pretentious and self indulgent. It's even distracting especially during the beautiful cloud sequences. I would say the sliding ruined the film. Get over yourself dude, it's a fad among still photographers.

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (3 months ago)

I think it's more technology/cost limited. the sequences between 03:35-03:45 bring some changes but one will have to build an elevated rail around the tree for smooth motion.

btw, 60-72 lbs is about the up limit for hiking (including clothes and boots already worn) but this guy carries 80 lbs.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

Fair enough, but I'm not sure how the use of a motorized dolly is pretentious. Self indulgent, definitely, I made this video mostly for personal reasons, it's almost seven minutes of self indulgence. Indulge in exploring/photographing nature and storm chasing as often as possible. FYI, more scenes were shot with a tripod than a slider, the slider shots just take up a bit more of the video, mostly due to how the music is paced.

This is just my way of sharing it with others. Interesting that you see it this way...thanks for the input.

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (3 months ago)

the camera should move, better move for that's the way we see the world. this is because our vision is not invented for enjoying still images but environment recognition which is essential to our survival.

by moving we generate a better 3D model of things around us, especially at some distance from where a predator may start to charge, and slider may be a simple stupid way to mimic similar effect.

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
1 upvote
rb59020
By rb59020 (3 months ago)

Yawn, another Canadian speaks.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (3 months ago)

what was the slider used?

0 upvotes
UneVache
By UneVache (3 months ago)

Excellent :D

0 upvotes
MY Latent Image
By MY Latent Image (3 months ago)

Great work!

0 upvotes
Henrikw
By Henrikw (3 months ago)

absolutely stunning. Nicolaus is lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth and he managed to capture it in this incredible video. Thank you

2 upvotes
Tord S Eriksson
By Tord S Eriksson (3 months ago)

This could have been just great, but why all these slides?!

Every, every, scene include a slide upwards, downwards, or sideways?! It makes the 'movie' boring, mannered, and tiring! After a while I had had enough of slides and had to turn it off.

OK, you invest in a powered slide, or make it yourself (at the most: a handful of stepper motors, some electronics, and a computer of some sort, some ball-bearings, extruded aluminium, steel bolts, nuts, washers, and so on) but why use it in every damn*d shot?!

For instance: Not a single panorama in sight (in the first 3 minutes - didn't see the rest). Or just a stationary camera?!

75 sliding camera snips?!

Everything else was perfect, and Wyoming is a lovely place, indeed it is!

3 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (3 months ago)

I agree that this technique is used to excess - and that can create a bit of a mannered look - but from about minute 4 there become more diversity - in fact, quite a rhythm - to the changes in technique. Of course, this is also where the more dramatic sequences (and accompanying music) occur. Most compelling for me were the scenes dominated by cloud transfigurations, with only a sliver of landscape to lend context; this fluctuation of form and light becomes increasing abstract. Really, really beautiful.

So, if I am reading correctly, Tord, you watched 3 minutes then chose to dedicate time to remarking about overuse of a technique, but then didn't watch the remaining 3+ minutes. Odd.

8 upvotes
Kim Letkeman
By Kim Letkeman (3 months ago)

You deserve the beating you will take for watching 3 minutes of a 7 minutes movie and then criticizing it vociferously. That's just plain arrogant.

Watch the whole thing. The cloud sequences are both amazing, and many are slide free because all the movement is in the clouds.

Movement matters. Just plunking a camera down and watching scenery doing nothing is dead boring. You would have been even more critical and probably watched only 1 minute.

Seriously, if you want the right to be that critical, then watch it all.

6 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (3 months ago)

> why all these slides?!

human nature is a simple answer.
like a baby doesn't like to see the world from a fixed position,
though the baby may still cry put on a slide.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

Bummer you couldn't make it through the whole video Tord. It's definitely not for everyone. A photographer friend of mine hates slides in time lapse and film, but I've licensed way more dolly shots than static tripod shots. So from a profit standpoint, the slide sells.

1 upvote
bokeh of chocolates
By bokeh of chocolates (3 months ago)

Whilst you're entitled to your own opinion, have you thought the use or in your view 'excessive use' of a slide is part and parcel of this photographer's style (rather than technique)? How is this any different to those photographers who dabble in depth of field photography, bokeh images, HDR etc...

You learn to appreciate the photographs for their merit and time lapse photography, being a relatively modern concept, is yet to develop a 'trending' style.

In 6 months time I may just stumble across nature based time-lapse video with a large amount of slider use and subsequently I may just recognise it as Nicolaus Wegner trademark and fondly remember the first time I watched Wyoming Wildscapes II...

0 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (3 months ago)

Nicolaus, despite my agreement with the number of sequences employing the slide, I quite enjoyed the video on the whole, particularly the parts I mention above. Thank you. And you should not be "surprised" at all that this work is receiving ongoing attention.

One additional point: you mention that the slider sequences have been most popular, most sought after to be licensed for commercial use. I don't doubt that - so many are handsome, and that movement technique is very visually effective in these contexts. Comments critical of its use in the video are quite different than accessing the sequences' individual merits, commercial or otherwise. The former is part of analyzing the video overall as a composition. You know this, of course. I'm just stating this for the purposes of member dialog.

0 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (3 months ago)

Okay - I lied - one more thing: both of my daughters, one fifteen years old and the other three, loved the video. My three year old, in particular, was transfixed. She asked me, "Is that planet Erf?"

0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

I see your point b craw, and agree completely. I actively tried to use a combination of static and dolly moves, but lean towards the dolly stuff for most scenes. For storms, the slider is horrible. I tried it several times and it was just too much in most cases. With so much going on in the sky, foreground movement became a huge distraction. Plus most of the time the wind was blowing 50-60mph and everything shaking in the foreground was horrible. It's why so many of those scenes are just slivers of landscape.

Thank you for the input and dialog. Thrilled to hear your daughters enjoyed this. It is they who will inherit these places as long as we do our best to take care of them.

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (3 months ago)

besides the wind, was super-wide angle an issue? that a longer rail may have to be used to generate sufficient effects (3D recognition at dozens to hundreds of feet) expensive equipment one will have to abandon in case of emergency.

Comment edited 52 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

Yeah, the setting up of the gear was also a consideration. But the storm and cloud formation are what matters in those shots. Any other movement draws your eye away. I did try a few dolly moves, but it just looked too forced for me. Others may like it though, always worth a shot if you want to try it. ;]

I used the ultra wides because most times I was right up next to or under the storm. Anything with less FoV would not have captured enough of the scene.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
RunStrom
By RunStrom (3 months ago)

Wonderful, colors cuts, edits and music - all in harmony!

2 upvotes
Astrophotographer 10
By Astrophotographer 10 (3 months ago)

Wow, what an amazing piece of photographic artwork. A masterpiece.

Greg.

2 upvotes
JaimeA
By JaimeA (3 months ago)

Totally stunning locations. On a 27" Apple Thunderbolt monitor you are really there. This video is a New Year's gift. Thank you Nic! You captured the beauty and feeling of the place.

0 upvotes
Mirrorless Crusader
By Mirrorless Crusader (3 months ago)

This is nothing special at all. All they did was make a stop-motion video out of long exposures taken at sixty-second intervals so that you see roughly an hour of time elapse per second. Anybody who's rich enough could do that with barely any skill at all.

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Gioradan
By Gioradan (3 months ago)

Nothing special? go ahead and create a video of this quality then...

7 upvotes
bokeh of chocolates
By bokeh of chocolates (3 months ago)

If by 'rich' you mean 'talented', then yes you are correct -_- ...

12 upvotes
Michael Kilpatrick
By Michael Kilpatrick (3 months ago)

Anyone could do it!!! Just like anyone can play the flute - you just blow in one end and move your fingers on the outside.

16 upvotes
josephbeeson
By josephbeeson (3 months ago)

I totally know this is nothing special I could do this with my iphone posed on a beercan. And it isn't even in 3d, what a ripoff!

2 upvotes
neo_nights
By neo_nights (3 months ago)

I know you're just trolling but I'll bite: if you look like that "It's just a...." then every photography is "just" something. We all know that photography, in theory, is an "easy" craft (at least the basics are easier to get than other art forms like drawing, painting and music). But once you're there, doing it yourself, you realise that things aren't THAT simple.

Yes, those pictures are "only" stop motion. But what about all the work involved? Actually travelling somewhere? Setting everything up? Doing literally over 100 thousands of pictures and having to select them (and throwing most out)?

But you know all that, right?

You got the attention you wanted, you may feel pleased with yourself now :)

2 upvotes
shademaster
By shademaster (3 months ago)

please don't feed the trolls, you guys...

1 upvote
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

No sixty-second intervals, sorry.

Exposures range from 1/200 to 30 seconds. Intervals were 1 second to 10 seconds.

But you already knew that, didn't you? ;]

4 upvotes
Devendra
By Devendra (3 months ago)

try standing in one thunderstorm in the open field to get just one shot and lets see how brave you are..
or try going to one spot before the sunrise/sunset to hopefully get one good shot...
if you know about wyoming/grand teton area, one has to deal with -30F in the mornings before the sunrises.. and i can assure you that even taking out the camera from the car/jeep is a painful process.
anyway, im done responding to a troll

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Steve Bingham
By Steve Bingham (3 months ago)

Really? Let's see yours, or are you not "rich enough"? Sometimes the art is in the doing! I agree that the slider may have been used too much in this small demo clip, but that's where the money is. I am sure you will see some of these in commercial clips (maybe only for 3-10 seconds worth). Very few will ever see the video in its entirety. Personally, after 50 years in commercial photography, I learned something. And you learned nothing? Damn you must be good!

5 upvotes
dahod
By dahod (3 months ago)

That was simply amazing - Congratulations

5 upvotes
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (3 months ago)

Great stuff.

I'd like to see how the focal length changes were done and how the motion 360° around the tree was accomplished.

0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

No focal length changes Lee. I think you might be referring to the vertigo effect with the aspens and snow. That was done by sliding into the scene, while zooming out in post. Works sometimes, especially for shots with lots of layers.

The 360 shot was done with a tripod. Take a shot, move the tripod a few inches, take the shot...a few hundred times. You cramp up a bit, but it's sort of fun. Practice in patience. Stabilizing was done in post. It's why there are only 3 hyperlapses in here. With uneven terrain, it's hard to get smooth shots.

1 upvote
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (3 months ago)

Cropping and stabilizing in post is what I was guessing (since I couldn't think of another way) but it certainly wasn't clear. I love VirtualDub's Deshaker plugin for that.

0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

You nailed it, no special equipment, just adobe magic in post. Warp stabilizer for the hypers. Crops automatically. Takes a bit of tweaking and several runs in most of those scenes, due to the uneven terrain, but it worked well enough. Any issues in those shots are the fault of me and the tripod. Might try to refine the process in future work...we'll see.

0 upvotes
Maff maff
By Maff maff (3 months ago)

Beautifull work and due to my experiance I trust the numbers. It is wondfull to concentrate on a specific subject and to see how it develep and change during time which is nicely reflected here

0 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (3 months ago)

Stunning work here. Nice use of camera movement. I've been wanting some rails, but I do almost no video - now's my excuse!

Do I see a hint of flash in some of these?

And so many great locations. That's dedication.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Nicolaus Wegner
By Nicolaus Wegner (3 months ago)

One shot with an Einstein strobe, the Devil's Tower night scene. All the others were taken with a headlamp.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 231
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