The definition of cool under fire, this is one quality you definitely want your professional photographer to possess when commissioning a time lapse project. Especially if your project is located at a construction site with heavy equipment moving about. Safety first is crucial of course but the dynamic nature of medium and large scale construction sites guarantee that unexpected opportunities arise and as a time lapse specialist who spends a lot of time on site, I’m present to time lapse those unexpected moments, danger notwithstanding.

For example, I pulled these stills from a project I’ve been documenting since early February. I wanted to show you some concrete examples…:() On a recent morning I placed two cameras in position above the demolition area, (where it was safe) to time lapse the demolition of this concrete bunker.

As I monitored the work I became inspired to put another camera, (I always show up for with 3-5 cameras) on the ledge just above the green and black dot:


Here’s what that camera position delivered:


After lunch only the cruncher came back on site:


As I’m watching the cruncher make its way towards the East end of the bunker I realized that a camera position from below would give me the necessary footage to cut the sequence properly. I had to have a “looking up” camera point of view to add drama and engage the audience:


While monitoring this part of the demolition I realized the large chunk of concrete hanging in front of the entrance would soon come crashing down as it was hanging on by just two threads of rebar. In order to record it properly, I had to be present. I needed a sense of timing as to how fast the cruncher was working and how fast the concrete gave way. I’d have one chance to get it right, it would last mere seconds and then be gone forever. Talk about pressure…naw!

I’ve done this before and the technique is simple: manual intervention of the intervalometer. The only issue I was to be safe. I’m OSHA certified in General Industry and have been on construction sites since 2011 so I know how to be safe and aware. I positioned the camera near a tree and the coiled cable connecting the intervalometer to the camera was long enough to allow me to stand behind the tree if need be. I was out of the danger zone for the slab fall, (150% of the height of a falling object) but possibly not any flying chunks. I just remained calm and focused and I got the shot. Easy peasy.

Take a look”

Related Images:

Michael Stern

My work depicts, appreciates and honors the people who build. Their specialized equipment and stunning challenges are marvels I behold and get paid to interpret. Hope you enjoy this site.

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