Sunrise & Sunset Timelapse

I’ve been experimenting a little more with HDR (high dynamic range) timelapse photography. Here is a sunrise and sunset timelapse video taken on Sunday. All were taken with the Nikon D700 and 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14mm in auto exposure “program” mode since the light was changing too much for manual exposure. HDR tone mapping was done in batch mode with Oloneo PhotoEngine, a program I’ve been beta testing for a while but is now available for purchase. Some more magic was done afterward on each image to give it the “glow” look.


The sunrise timelapse is 5 bracketed stops one stop apart taken every 10 seconds in RAW mode with daylight white balance. I filled my 64GB card with 4,705 photos in two hours and thirty-seven minutes, resulting in 941 HDR images for the first timelapse.

I needed more exposure range to get the sunset into stars and moonlight, so I took 9 bracketed stops one stop apart every 10 seconds in JPEG Large mode (so I wouldn’t run out of storage space) with daylight white balance. As sheer chance would have it, I took 8,469 photos in the same two hour and thirty-seven minute timespan also making 941 HDR images for the second timelapse, however the JPEGs only filled up half of the card so I could have taken twice as long a timelapse. This resulted in a faster workflow creating the HDRs even though there were more source images, but changing the white balance was a little more difficult with JPEGs.

In the end it didn’t matter, because I had to change the white balance gradually over time to go between sunlight and moonlight, and I wasn’t about to do that to thousands of images individually. I also wanted to remove some of the flicker from using auto exposure (quite obvious in the previous sunrise timelapse). After a bit of research I discovered LRTimelapse, and that was exactly what I needed! This awesome program let me gradually change white balance, exposure, saturation, pretty much any Lightroom adjustment over a set time period, and analyze frames to remove flicker. Sweet!

Here are some individual frames from the video.

These images can be purchased through my gallery here:

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