Film Photography

At a crossroads

For several months we’ve been thinking that it would be really cool to climb up to the top of the tower at St. Mark’s Kennington and take some long exposure images of the crossroads at Oval tube station at night. But hey, why stop at just still images? Why not go for a time lapse? So that’s exactly what we did.

Last night, just after 7pm we climbed up the tower and set up a tripod in the roof space, with a camera on top pointing at the crossroads and a timer remote control attached. With the camera all set up (see below if you’re interested in the settings), we set it going, then headed into nearby Kennington Park to have a picnic.

We returned to the camera just before 10pm and this is the footage that it had captured (played back at 12 frames per second):

We’re quite pleased with this, although due to the limitations of where we could fit a tripod in the tower we couldn’t go as widescreen as we would have liked. We particularly like the detail of the London Eye rotating in the background though, which you can just about make out.

Once we’d taken a few long exposure photos from other angles, we came back down to earth, recorded some video footage at the base of the tower (so that we could have sound to accompany the time lapse), then headed off home.

For those who are interested, our time lapse settings were:

  • Fixed ISO of 400 (so the “grain” remained consistent through all images)
  • Manual focus (for consistency between images)
  • Aperture of f/16 (so as to have a largish depth of field)
  • Aperture priority (so the exposures would get progressively longer as it got darker)
  • Image preview off (to conserve battery)
  • Quality of images reduced (to allow 3000 images to fit on a 4GB memory card)
  • Photograph every 3 seconds

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