It only took me three visits to get a couple good shots and a decent time lapse from the kayak ramp at Alum Creek Lake. There’s something about a long exposure sunrise that grabs me. Freezing that moment when the day begins and stretching it out makes it seem more tangible.
On my third visit to Alum Creek Lake my preparation and luck clicked together nicely. The sky was good, the water was good, I got the camera settings right and there were no fishing boats. There was a beaver, but I’m not mad about him at all. I got a couple nice long exposure shots.
The first is only 25 seconds so the clouds aren’t very streaky, but I’m really happy with the composition, the color and the subtle Crepuscular rays.
The second (although it was actually taken first before the sun came up) was over 8 minutes and the clouds are good and streaky, but the composition is a little haphazard. It’s hard to tell exactly where the clouds are heading sometimes and in this case the foreground and clouds didn’t line up like I hoped.
While one camera was slowly gathering light for the long exposures on one side of the tiny beach, my other camera was snapping away with the help of qdslrdashboard getting a time lapse. qdslrdashboard didn’t perform quite as well as I hoped – it adjusted the shutter speed down from 4 seconds to 1.3 seconds just fine, but then it wouldn’t reduce it any more no matter how bright the scene got. I ended up quickly stopping the intervalometer, resetting qdslrdashboard, and continuing. I may experiment with starting with .8 second shutter speed and a higher ISO and see if that makes a difference.
Below is the finished timelapse. Click HD to see and hear the best version. Music is “Sunflare” by Cory Gray from freemusicarchive.org It fit the “vibrating” water perfectly.
If you look very carefully near the end of the video, you can see the beaver that swam through the shot ten feet in front of the camera. I’ve seen him go by every time I visit this spot. Just after sunrise he swims by on what I guess is his daily commute. Even though he’s pretty close, the wide angle lens makes him look far away. If he appeared that size and was really half way across the lake, that would be one really big rodent.
On previous visits I couldn’t get things to go just right. Either technical difficulties, boring skies or clueless fishing boats thwarted my efforts at the time lapse video. I did get a couple passable long exposure shots. In the first one the clouds looked like a skinny arm handing out a squirrel.
When a time lapse sequence was ruined by a clueless fisherman parking his boat right in front of me, I packed up and headed home before the sun rose. On the way, I stopped after seeing an interesting ribbon of ground fog. I was able to setup and got some cool shots of the sunrise through the fog. Sometimes the universe just doesn’t get the memo about your plan.