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Why I Do This

The Love of Building is My Why

As a decades-long photographer, I opted for the confines and control of a large commercial studio. It turned into a co-op early on and we maintained happy clients, developed a flow of steady work and shared more than a few laughs. But as a kid, dirt and trucks mattered. Playing construction man in the back yard, making up buildings and their stories, mattered. At some point I was going to refocus my commercial lens on construction and industrial projects, especially large outdoor locations. When digital and time-lapse converged, it was time to move it on.

In 1968 I viewed my first time-lapse film. It was a 366 frame, 16mm color film of the building of Sleeping Beauty’s’ Castle at Disneyland. I was well into my photography journey by then and knew enough to appreciate the investment of time required to make a film over a 366 day period: every day the photographer climbed up a tall ladder, held the camera steady, took one picture and climbed down. Repeated this task 365 times, didn’t make a mistake and all the pictures lined up perfectly. It was magical! I was hooked. Had the details completely wrong but I was in hooked.

Too Difficult

However I didn’t pursue time-lapse because I figured it was too hard for me. I was a better dreamer than doer. Of course if I had bothered to find out how time-lapse / stop-motion is actually done, things would have been different. But I didn’t. Funny how love works.

During my teaching stint at Brooks Institute, a colleague showed me his time-lapse work. Star trails, snail trails, water and cloud movements. Cool stuff but I was overwhelmed again by what was needed in terms of gear, technology and time. But love is powerful and I finally entered the time-lapse arena. Independent film making here I come. I was at the very beginning of the learning curve but technology made it fun and offered infinite possibilities.

In 2011, after getting up to speed with the technical aspects of time-lapse, I went about optimizing my website for local time-lapse searches.

The Value of Local SEO

In 2011 my first time-lapse inquiry pinged from the world famous botanical garden, The Huntington. After a thorough restoration of the first tea house built in the US post WWII, they were installing it in their Japanese garden. A time-lapse was requested of the process. A local SEO search turned up only my name and I was hired immediately! 10 films later and we’re still working together. I keep my clients happy.

Since 2011, I’ve produced 18+ films. I think like an artist, shoot like a director and edit like a storyteller. I show up often, arrive early and stay late to capture the intricate dance that is the building process. Each time-lapse film represents a fantastical journey that I get to tell through time-lapse and video.

So the next time you’re looking for a great time-lapse film, hire the kid who still loves trucks and dirt:

Thanks for reading.

Michael