5 Nikon D500 Time Lapse Photography Tricks To Improve Your Image Quality!

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Photography is an art form that allows for an unmatched level of expression. You can get as creative as you want. One of the most exciting new avenues of photography is capturing time-lapses. Regardless of whether you’re capturing a sunset, sunrise, the night sky, anything in motion will practically work as a time-lapse. The Technique is one of the best ways to illustrate long-term phenomenon in a short snippet. When done right a time-lapse can be absolutely breathtaking.

Of course, to take your time-lapse photography to the next level you’re going to need a decent camera. One of the best full-frame DSLRs for the job is the Nikon D500. It features Nikon’s brilliant 24.3-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor which captures brilliant quality images and offers masterful low-light performance. Thanks to the wide-dynamic range of the sensor it’s much more sensitive to shadows and highlights. The greater sensitivity means that during the post-processing, photographers can effectively work around with the lighting in the image.

The camera also boasts a high signal-to-noise ratio that manages to capture all details with incredible sharpness and manages to maintain low noise through the wide ISO range. When it comes to range the ISO goes from 100 to 6400. Users can choose to expand the range up to 25,600 or down to 50 when the situation requires. The camera also supports 6 fps continuous shooting in full resolution.

Lock Focus 

Ideally, in a time-lapse, one subject should be the center of your attention. That makes locking in a good focus much easier. If one shot in the time-lapse comes out of focus, it’ll ruin the whole video. Time-lapses are all about maintaining a consistent focus throughout all your shots. If you don’t do this the result is a time-lapse that’s jittery and doesn’t look very good.

One trick that all photographers should follow when trying to capture a time-lapse is using the auto-focus at first. Of course, you can go manual from the start and adjust the focus from the start. However, for those that are newer to photography and aren’t as comfortable using manual yet, auto-focus is the way to go. Once you get a good focus, be sure to switch from auto-focus to manual. If you don’t make the switch the focus might readjust and ruin the next shot.

The Nikon D500 is well suited to this task thanks to the incredibly efficient and accurate autofocus system. It boasts 153 focus points that provide wide-area AF coverage and it also gives users the opportunity to control how many focus points they want to use. Photographers can choose between using 55 or 15 points. The sensor also features a scene recognition system that assists the focus process.

Focusing on the subject properly is key in every photograph but it’s even more important in time-lapse photography. If the focus isn’t consistent that means the time-lapse is going to be jittery and not have the desired effect.

Use RAW Format

In a single time-lapse, you could potentially take 200-300 images. For longer time-lapse the number of photographs could potentially go into the 1000s. That’s a lot of images to sort through and edit. While there are people that argue for the utility of JPEG, thanks to its accessible nature and smaller file size, to take your photography to the next level, RAW format is the way to go.

There are a number of reasons why professional photographers will opt for RAW image format when it comes to post-processing. Primarily, the use of the RAW format gives photographers greater control in post-processing. The JPEG format images come with a certain amount of pre-processing. RAW images in comparison have no processing on them and give photographers more control over the final result of the image.

Another advantage of using RAW format is the precision color control. When you switch over to RAW format images, a big plus is that they retain a lot more color information in comparison to JPEG format. As a result, you have the opportunity to work around more with colors during editing. For the sake of complete creative control over the time-lapse the best option is to go with RAW format images.

The Nikon D500 gives you the opportunity to easily change the format of images from the settings. Users can also adjust the size of the photographs that they want and the quality of the image as well! Switching over to RAW format and learning how to bring out an images best potential is crucial in making your time-lapse perfect.

Make Use Of Motion

As mentioned earlier, one of the best subjects to capture while making a time-lapse is objects that are in motion. However, sometimes that might not be enough to create a captivating enough image. There’s only so much you can do with the camera stuck in one place. That’s where making use of motion comes into play.

During a typical time-lapse the camera remains completely stationary. A great way to take your time-lapse to the next level is moving the camera. These moving time-lapses are also referred to as a hyper-lapse. The effect of the movement in the time-lapse if done correctly is sure to create a more captivating image.

You can’t just pick up the camera and move it to another position for 200-300 images. Not only would that be incredibly tedious, it’ll require incredibly steady hands to maintain a similar angle for every image. The only way to incorporate camera motion into the time-lapse properly is using a motorized tilt head or a slider. These are devices that allow you to move the camera around easily, while maintaining stability and a similar angle throughout the time-lapse. There are several different products available on the market that’ll fit the bill.

Nikon understand that completely and provide full support for third-party accessories. The camera features an accessible mount that easily fits in with accessories. To be safe, you can take your camera along to be sure it fits. However, that’s not a real major concern the D500 will easily fit onto most rigs. 

Get Comfortable

One of the reasons why time-lapse photography attracts so many people is that it requires a lot of dedication. Even shooting a short time-lapse is a major commitment of your time. You’ll also have to take into consideration the locations and the weather conditions for every time-lapse. When conditions are ideal, you can just as easily set the camera up and leave.

However, it’s really difficult to just leave the camera on its own as you never know what could potentially happen. That means you’re going to need to prepare yourself to wait for the hundreds or potentially thousands of images in the time-lapse.

Depending on your location and condition, it’s important to dress appropriately. If you’re in the cold, make sure that you take all the layers necessary to keep you warm. There’s a big difference in being dedicated and being reckless. In hotter conditions make sure that you wear lightweight clothing that’s breathable. Always bring along an umbrella, even if it isn’t going to rain. If there’s too much sun out while capturing the time-lapse, the umbrella will come in handy if you can’t find any shade. The best photographer is one that’s always prepared. If you’re capturing a long time-lapse it’s ideal to have a few snacks and water alongside

The Nikon D500 also features a magnesium-alloy body that’s capable of performing normally in adverse weather conditions. If there’s potential rainfall in the area, make sure that you get a rain cover for the Nikon D500. Make sure that you’re comfortable and the camera’s comfortable as well.

Shadow Movement

When you’re capturing an image during the day or night, for one particular image the movement of shadows isn’t very important. In the case of capturing a time-lapse paying attention to the movement of shadows is crucial. They can help add a completely different dimension to the time-lapse.

These shadow movements are significantly more noticeable during the day. If you don’t manage to take these into account, a certain shadow could potentially enter the image and ruin the entire time-lapse. These shadows can become even more evident depending on the exposure settings of the camera. However, thanks to the exposure correcting of the Nikon D500, this issue isn’t as big.

Another advantage that the Nikon D500 provides is that it offers a wide dynamic range. Thanks to the range, the Nikon D500 is capable of capturing shadows more effectively and is more sensitive to additional details.

The extra sensitivity means that the photographer has a lot more editing options during post-processing. Even if the movement of shadows becomes more noticeable than you want, you can adjust the lighting during post-processing. When you’re taking hundreds or maybe even thousands of photos, being able to control the lighting accurately in each picture is crucial.

The movement of shadows isn’t just a disadvantage when it comes to time-lapse photography. Those with vision can effectively utilize these shadows into their time-lapse to add another element. The interval setting on the time-lapse also have an effect on how you can capture the motion of shadows. It’s important to keep track of all these variable factors so you don’t run into any potential issues with the time-lapse.