“Smoke and mirrors”  (Actually fog and reflections)…  :-)

Fellow photographer and friend Mike Hollman and I decided to take a very early morning drive (4am to be exact) from Auckland down to Hamilton to photograph the annual “Hamilton NZ Mass Ascension – Balloons over Waikato” festival.  I hadn’t been to this event before but had always wanted to, so with the forecast looking good the decision was made to jump in the car and go!  We arrived in time to pick a spot and be ready as the balloons started to inflate.  I was shooting stills on my Nikon D810 and had decided belatedly to throw my D4s on a second tripod and shoot some time lapse as well.  It was a last minute decision but I’m so glad I did as it really shows the magic of the morning from the golden light first thing, to the morning mist gradually clearing, through to the balloons slowly inflating before rising up from the ground and following each other in their dance around the sky. What a great morning!

To shoot the time lapse I was using my Nikon D4s with 24-70mm lens.  For the time lapse I set the camera to manual exposure and programmed in an exposure rate of 1 frame every 2 seconds.  I started with the exposure slightly underexposed – the histogram hard left – knowing that the light levels would increase.  I only made one adjustment during the 2 hour shoot which is where you will see I have joined two different sequences.  At this time of recomposing I also reset the exposure as the sun was now fully up and the light was constant.  Photographing balloons in time lapse is not something I had done before so it was a bit of an unknown with regards to what interval to use and trying to predict where the balloons were going to travel and over what time period.  I got lucky with the weather as the fog added mood to the series and my highly scientific calculations (guesses) paid off.

I then processed the timelapse sequences – the first at double playback speed and the second sequence at normal playback at 30FPS.  We then used ProShow Producer to combine the two timelapses with the still images, add the soundtrack and time the show to the beat of the music. (I am using the royal “we”, my wife actually helped with that part).  ;-D

I love the result.  I hope you enjoy it too!

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All photos and timelapse copyright Chris McLennan.  Music by PremiumBeat.com.

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23B Sarah Todd Lane, Waimauku 0812, Auckland, New Zealand   P +64 9 411 9561 F +64 9 411 9562   info@cmphoto.co.nz