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What is Stormlapse in Timelapse Photography?

What is Stormlapse in Timelapse Photography?

One of the most exciting subjects that never ceases to amaze is the formation of storms. Although it may be dangerous – depending on the storm one is chasing – and requires braving gushing winds, lightning strikes, floods, or even tornadoes, the fulfillment that the perfect timelapse videos gives is incomparable. For this reason, it is not surprising that many are turning this into a hobby.

Captured through Timelapse

So, what are timelapse videos? How can they capture the dangerous beauty of storms? These are films created through the art of timelapse photography. This technique is one of the favorite techniques of photographers, especially those who have the patience to compress time through their lens.

Timelapse photography is a time-manipulation technique that makes an illusion of a scenario moving faster. Usually, this is done by taking hundreds or even thousands of shots of a single scene within minutes, hours, or even days, depending on how long you want to capture. Then, these frames are combined to create a video.

This technique has gained popularity in the film industry, and it is used in many movies to depict the passing of time. This may be a highly technical process, but you do not have to be a professional photographer to do this. You can do timelapse even with a simple camera or just a smartphone.

ALSO READ: How to Start with Timelapse Photography?

What is Stormlapse

Basically, a stormlapse is a timelapse of storms. The usual subjects are dark storm clouds, lightning, and even tornadoes. Storm chasers (who happen to be photographers) go to great lengths to find the perfect spot to shoot the formation of these amazing spectacles.

If you want to find how the storm chasers do their magic, then check out the steps for your stormlapse preparation:

1. Find out where and when the perfect storm is.

Of course, devoted storm chasers do not just wait for hurricanes or storms to happen in their neighborhood. Together with other storm gurus, they study where and when storms will strike next.

The best way to stay updated is by following the weather forecast. Whether on the television or the Internet, these people search for upcoming weather disturbances. They look for thunderstorms, hurricanes, hailstorms, and sometimes just a simple overcast. Sometimes, they are even willing to travel miles to witness the biggest storms.

2. Plan ahead.

After knowing where to go and how strong the disturbance will be, they plan for the best shooting location. If possible, they go to the place ahead of time to scout the area for the best spots to take the shots. If far from home, they also look for the nearest and safest hotel or hideout so they can easily run for cover if the storm gets worst.

Of course, part of the planning would be making sure they bring everything they need, including extra batteries, raincoats, and zip-locked bags for their stuff, especially the camera and other gadgets, and a first-aid kit.

3. Set up. 

Once in the location, they set up their camera using the sturdiest tripod they could bring to make sure their device will not be knocked down by the wind. With an intervalometer, the number and interval of shots will be specified.

First, set the camera to manual mode, then the Shutter Speed, Aperture, White Balance, and ISO to manual mode also. Finally, deactivate the Auto Focus to switch to Manual Focus.

4. Use a remote camera trigger.

If you are wondering how these photographers can perfect the shots without getting thrown away by strong winds or fear, then you need to know their secret. They use a hi-tech camera trigger that allows them to take the shots even while they are out of harm's way.

The camera trigger lets them capture images remotely. Meaning, they can still control their cameras even if away from it. This feature is made possible using a smartphone-controlled application.

Perfect Camera Trigger for Stormlapse

Usually, camera triggers are used to keep the camera from shaking or moving whenever the shutter is released. Avoid blurred photos in your timelapse by eliminating any camera movements.

Many professional photographers who use remote shooting, such as timelapse, use MIOPS Smart Camera Trigger. This device functions by initiating the shutter release of digital cameras without the photographer touching the camera. What makes this a perfect gear for storm chasers?

  • Supports Timelapse - This camera trigger is designed to support different photography techniques, including timelapse. It has different modes and features that are helpful to those who want to create the best effects for their timelapse shots.
  • Wireless remote - Another reason why this is perfect for timelapsing is its wireless connectivity. Using a mobile app, it can be connected to the camera via Bluetooth. Even if away from the scene, photographers can still control their equipment remotely.
  • Stormlapse mode - MIOPS Smart is an advanced image trigger which has state-of-the-art features. One of them is the Stormlapse, which is specifically designed for capturing storms.
  • Lightning mode – It also has Lightning mode, which allows photographers to capture lightning strikes during storms. Lightning strikes are practically impossible to predict - but with MIOPS Smart, your camera will automatically release its shutter at the beginning of the lightning.
  • Intervalometer – If your camera does not have a built-in intervalometer, this device is a great solution. It can be used to set the frame intervals for the perfect timing of the shutter release.

ALSO READ: What is the Best Camera Trigger?

Your safety should be your priority 

Capturing stormlapse videos is exciting. However, it can also be dangerous. Professional storm chasers have years of training and field experience. If this is your first time doing it, then you have to make sure you are physically and mentally fit to take up this challenge. It is also wise to tag along pro storm chasers to learn from them. 

Remember that safety should still be your priority. If you are a starting out in photography, then you may start with more basic, and less risky timelapse shooting. You can begin by capturing the sunset, the seascape, or the sparkling lights of fireworks, then work your way up to chasing spectacular storms.