Timelapse Snapshots

One of the great features of timelapse photography is the ability to compress time and see patterns or changes in the landscape we’d otherwise miss (such as daily groundwater fluctuations due to evapotranspiration).  However, another benefit of timelapse photography is simply the regular documentation of what’s happening in front of the camera.  For example, as I’ve been going through the thousands of images from the timelapse cameras on our Derr Wetland restoration project, I’ve been pleased to see a variety of wildlife species captured in those photographs.  Since we spent a lot of time and money converting this sandpit lake to shallow wetland habitat, it’s nice to see it being used.  The cameras have also captured more than just wildlife…

I thought I’d share some of the more interesting individual photographs I’ve found from the timelapse images.  These have been variously cropped to narrow in on the portion of the scene that’s most pertinent.  There are actually two cameras (set up so they can be combined into panoramic images – more on that in a later post) so don’t be confused if the scene appears to be different between photographs.

12:06pm.  February 25, 2013.  Canada geese and mallards are among the many migratory water birds that visited the wetland.  The heaviest use seems to be during the northward migration in late winter/early spring.

February 25, 2013.  12:06 pm.
Canada geese and mallards are among the many migratory water birds that visited the wetland. The heaviest use comes during the northward migration in late winter/early spring.

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9am.  March 3, 2013.  Three white-tailed deer pass through the wetland with a group of mallards in the background.

March 3, 2013.  9am.
Three white-tailed deer pass through the wetland with a group of mallards in the background.

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June 9, 2013.  11:36 am. Two bald eagles, one mature and one immature, sit on the edge of the water.  This may be part of the family raised in a nest about a mile to the north of this wetland.

June 9, 2013. 11:36 am.
Two bald eagles, one mature and one immature, stand on the edge of the water. This may be part of the family that nested about a mile to the north of this wetland.

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June 5, 2013.  9:50pm. Great blue herons are very frequent visitors to the wetland.  This one was taking advantage of the last light of the day.

June 5, 2013. 9:50pm.
Great blue herons are very frequent visitors to the wetland. This one was taking advantage of the last light of the day.

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June 4, 2013.  8:46 pm.   There are a number of nice sunset photos, especially in June, when the sun was actually setting in front of the camera (which is facing north/northwest).

June 4, 2013. 8:46 pm.
There have been a number of nice sunset photos, especially in June, when the sun is actually setting in front of this camera (which faces north/northwest).

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June 15, 2013.  6:33 am. Break out!  These calves found their way out of our pasture to the south and went for an early morning exploration.  They were eventually rounded up and returned.

June 15, 2013. 6:33 am.
Break out! These calves found their way out of our pasture to the south and went for an early morning exploration. They were eventually rounded up and returned.

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June 13, 2013.  9:54 am.  Our land steward, Nelson Winkel, is releasing beetles to help us control the invasive purple loosestrife plants that have gained a foothold on the site.

June 13, 2013. 9:54 am.
The camera documented our land steward, Nelson Winkel, releasing Galerucella beetles to help us control the invasive purple loosestrife plants that have gained a foothold on the site.

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(Top) March 26, 2013.  4:45 pm.   (Bottom) March 26, 2013.  5:15 pm. These two photos, taken a half hour apart, show two of us preparing to burn off the small island in the restored wetland and then the completed burn.  (It doesn't take very long when the island is surrounded by water and sand).

(Top) March 26, 2013. 4:45 pm.
(Bottom) March 26, 2013. 5:15 pm.
These two photos, taken a half hour apart, show Nelson and I preparing to burn off the small island in the restored wetland (top), and then the completed burn (bottom).  It doesn’t take very long when the island is surrounded by water and sand.

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September 23, 2013.  8:27 am.  Anne Stine, one of our Hubbard Fellows was working in the wetland this day.  She was either pulling loosestrife plants or harvesting seeds, I'm not sure which.

September 23, 2013. 8:27 am. Anne Stine, one of our Hubbard Fellows was working in the wetland this day. She was pulling purple loosestrife plants as we tried to remove new plants before they bloomed and set seed.

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October 4, 2013.  11:16 am. Even I got caught by the camera.  Here I am, taking a mid-day break to take photographs.

October 4, 2013. 11:16 am.
Hey look!  A prairie ecologist taking a mid-day photography break.

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May 26, 2013.  8:36 pm. This is my favorite image, so far, from the timelapse cameras.

May 26, 2013. 8:36 pm.
So far, I think this is my favorite from the timelapse cameras.

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Thanks to Michael Forsberg and Jeff Dale for helping set up and maintain the twin timelapse cameras on this site, and to Steven Speicher for helping with data storage and advice.  Photos shown here were taken with Canon EOS Rebel T2i cameras with 18mm lenses.  They are inside weatherproof housings, charged by solar panels, and operated by electronic controllers designed by Jeff.  Since these cameras were installed, Mike, Jeff and others formed Moonshell Media to design and install cameras like these for others.  They are also key players in the Platte Basin Timelapse project.

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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is an ecologist and Eastern Nebraska Program Director for The Nature Conservancy. He supervises the management and restoration of approximately 4,000 acres of land in central and eastern Nebraska - primarily along the central Platte River. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press.
This entry was posted in Prairie Animals, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants, Prairie Restoration/Reconstruction and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Timelapse Snapshots

  1. Brent Lathrop says:

    Chris great pictures, view of the real world always “grounds” you!

  2. Brodie says:

    The colors and definition in the photo with Anne are glorious.

  3. Angela Anderson says:

    beautiful!

  4. James McGee says:

    Hi Chris, I am including a link to one of my favorite time lapse photo sets by a local land steward. He took photos from various predetermined locations after every workday. The following link shows one set of photos from one designated location. It really shows how much more open the site has become after invasive trees and brush have been removed.

    http://www.bussewoods.net/volunteer/

    Sincerely,
    James

  5. Patrick says:

    (Re)build it and they will come. Proof is in the photos. Keep up the good work!

  6. Pingback: Photo of the Week – January 2, 2014 | The Prairie Ecologist

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