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DitoGear™ Spotlight #11

“Exploring Timelapse” is a project created by Mark Thyrring, aimed at exploring the time-lapse technique outside the country. Mark decided to visit the U.S. to learn more and fully understand the ins and outs of the time-lapse photography.

And what’s your latest project? Share your interesting stories in the next spotlight.

Natalia Brząkała: What inspired you to create such a project?

Mark Thyrring: I have seen timelapses posted by others on Youtube. I felt like I needed to explore this amazing technique. I tried to do timelapses before, but I never had any great results.
Photographers like Patryk Kizny, was my inspiration at first – especially the part about shooting the movements of stars, across the dark night sky.

NB: When did your time-lapse adventure begin?

MT: I was in the Philippines in 2012 shooting a movie for a travel agency. I came across the most beautiful landscapes and stars at night and I had my timer with me. I did not know how many seconds, intervals or how to set my focus correctly – so my first timelapses were a big failure.

NB: Was the project the main reason for visiting the United States?

MT: Yes, the project was all about getting to know my equipment and build on my time-lapse techniques.

The trip to the U.S. was my first ever and I had 30 days to learn about the time-lapse photography from the scratch. I wanted to do better timelapses than the other photographers on Youtube and I needed some amazing locations to do this.

NB: Tell us a little bit about the places that you captured in this video?

MT: Most of the places, do not actually have a name. It was 4000 km (2600 miles) with no plan, a GPS and just searched for nice locations. Started out in Los Angeles and drove north towards Las Vegas. I did a driving timelapse with my Gro Pro 3 Black Edition on the front of the RV, but I did not shoot any timelapse in Vegas. I wanted to shoot stuff, that has not been shot before.

The next couple of weeks was intense. Staying 3-5 days in the desert was becoming a challenge, charging the batteries for the 5D Mark II, getting power to the computer, so that I could empty the CF cards as they clog up with the time-lapse data.

After the desert, everything changed. I drove in the icy mountains of Yosemite, did some shooting around the worlds biggest Redwood trees and camped out in the forest with bears and raccoons. From there, the trip went west, to San Francisco and the first civilisation in weeks. I had an amazing shoot on top of Twin Peaks (highpoint of SF) for the whole night. From San Francisco down Highway One, I spent around a week on this southern road towards the end of the 30 days exploration.

My top favorite spots were, Death Valley, Yosimite National Park and Big Sur.

NB: What role played the DitoGear equipment in this production?

MT: I travelled with the 1.5m DitoGear OmniSlider in a transport case the whole trip. I used the long 24v cable all the time, just hooked it up with the RV. I had the dolly in the RV ready to set up anywhere, so when I would stop, it took me 5 minutes to get a moving time-lapse shot running. I have not even tested the OmniSlider before I got to the U.S. so this was really exciting to play around with. I used the OmniSlider, mainly to get off the static shots done by tripods and more into motion controlled timelapse. I also used the dolly for the video recordings on this trip.

I’ve had this dolly working for me every day for a month with no problems. I even did a small crash test and had it fall down 2 meters on the ground (not intentionally) but to say, its good quality and sturdy in windy conditions. I find the OmniSlider trustworthy and easy to set up for a shoot. I played around with it for about 15 minutes to get a hang of it in the beginning. I would leave the Omnislider sitting on the ground with my camera, for a whole night – getting the movement in the shot I wanted – on my camera, every single time I used it.

NB: Is there any tip you would like to share with our customers?

MT: I would recommend you to talk to your flight agency, before travelling international flight. The transport case that comes with the OmniSlider 1.5m is a bit longer than 1.5 meters and many would charge you double for taking a case of this size with you. On the other hand, I would tell the baggage service that the case weighs around 20 kg and I would get 50% off, for national price only. I did this with no problem from Copenhagen-Frankfurt-LA and back again.

NB: Could you tell us a little bit about the expectations regarding this project?

MT: The more views this projects takes in, the merrier. If my project will inspire others to go out and shoot their own timelapses, all my hours and budgets are well spent.

I have already sold some of the clips to production companies that needed the scenery for their films. More like these “stock” buyers, is very promising for me, so that I might travel even more. Selling my timelapses after getting home, gives me a budget for the next adventure.

NB: Would you like to do a similar project in any other country? Any ideas where?

MT: I have a lot of ideas, but there are so many unique places that I have not “timelapsed” yet. Personally I would love to explore Australia and New Zealand.

NB: How would you sum up this project?

MT: I hope that my story and production inspires other photographers out there. This is my first time-lapse experience that went as I hoped. It is amazing how travel, photography and techniques, people and goal setting is so motivating for anyone who tries it.

The one big thing I have learnt working on this project is that being in the drivers seat of your own future is great, setting the goals and move forward with no of fear of failure. Reflecting on your failures as small steps towards even better results with your photography.

NB: Mark, thank you for taking the time for us. I wish you a lot of similar projects and adventures in the future!

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