How I Use Time Lapse Photography To Capture Vacation Memories



I just finished another great cruise vacation to Aruba, Bonaire and Grand Turk. I used the Android application called Time Lapse Pro to capture a few memories.

Even though I am a novice with this technique, I think this technique is great and thought it would be fun to share some of the sights we experienced last week. These are short videos and this article will not take you long to read and view.

The Time Lapse Technique

Each time lapse movie was captured by recording pictures every 5, 3 or .1 seconds, depending upon what I was wanting to capture. For example, if I was making a video of a cruise ship moving away from port, I would choose a 5-second interval because there isn’t much action happening fast. If I was filming how the wind was causing waves, I’d choose a .1 second interval to be able to visualize the wind and the waves.

The actual video is made by using the Time Lapse Pro application on my Samsung Note 5 phone. I begin by clicking the red capture button and then I hold the phone steady on the railing of the ship for a set period of time. It can be boring waiting for minutes to elapse but in the end it is worth it to have the videos I am going to show you.

The great thing about this approach is that although the movies play in seconds, the scenes they capture may span several minutes of actual time. This allows you to see the movement of clouds, cars, and boats in a few seconds rather than having to watch minutes of videos. Some of the videos can look 3D or like stop-action cartoons. Also, sometimes you capture surprises that jump into the scene, like a passing motor boat that you had no idea was going to happen. I just love this technique for capturing the moments that I want to remember.

Although I thought that what I was doing was fun and interesting, my wife Toni thought that I was once again being Mr. Max Data Dork! I can’t help it that I’m not as cool as she is. Today, in fact, she called me a “digital horder” and blamed me for Windows having too many directories!  She said I created a giant mess and that I needed to clean it up!  Maybe Bill Gates will hire me to do this now.


Ken Black (the fake photographer) and his wife Toni (the real photographer). Every day I wonder how I got to be the lucky guy to have her and our kids in my life.

Day 1 – Leaving Cape Canaveral (Dec 10, 2016)

Leaving on a cruise is so exciting. The good news is that you know you will be going to beautiful places that you have probably never seen before. The bad news is that you know the 8 days will be over in what seems like minutes.

Day 4 – Leaving Aruba (Dec 13, 2016)

When I was a kid, Aruba was heavily marketed on TV. It was portrayed as one of the most beautiful places in the world. With 120,000 residents, Aruba was a nice place to visit but wasn’t our favorite port. You’ll have to read more to find out what out-ranked Aruba.

Day 5 – Visualizing Wind in Bonaire (Dec 14, 2016)

As I stood on our balcony, I was mesmerized by the scenes that were developing in front of me. I could visualize the wind. As I contemplated wave particle duality, chaos theory, energy transfer, and the mathematics of it all, I wondered how this was even possible. How could I see the wind because I had never seen the wind before?

Wind causes waves. Water responds to wind. By watching the waves, I was watching the wind. It occurred to me that I could time lapse these scenes. I’m glad that I did because I captured some of nature’s finest beauty.

Pay attention to how the wind was whipping around the neighboring ship. Look in the near-field and across the ship to the far-field. You will see waves, a quiet zone created by the ship and then another wave zone as the wind was concentrated around the other end of the ship.

Visualize the wind as it whipped the water into waves. Watch the speed boat come into the first scene and watch it lay-down its own waves. Watch it’s path then it hits the wind at the far end of the neighboring ship. Watch the interaction of the boat and wind-generated waves. If you pay attention, you will feel the warmth of the warm breeze and you will hear the wind whizzing in-between the ships. You might also feel like you are sailing on the small sailboat shown in the last segment.

This dance between the wind and waves was a form of data visualization that I had not experienced in this way. If Andy Goldsworthy could capture and contain wind, he would produce beautiful sculptures in places like this. I hope you enjoy this one.


Day 5 – Leaving Bonaire (Dec 14, 2016)

Day 7 – Leaving Grand Turk (Dec 16, 2016)

In Grand Turk, the snorkeling was the best. We watched as a small octopus tried to hide in nooks and crannies, trying its best to avoid the pecking fish. The nearly translucent barracuda we saw brought Ann and Nancy Wilson directly into my brain singing Barracuda. Grand Turk is an awesome place.

Watch our ship back-up and do a big U-turn in the ocean. Look at the clouds, which seem like they are fully 3D. Grand Turk – we will be back!

Family Photos

A very talented young gal from Russia named Alex did a great job photographing our family. In less than 30 minutes, she moved us around the ship and fired her Canon camera at us, all the while telling us what to do. She was delightful, spirited and very good at her job. She has a great future ahead of her. Thanks Alex, and we hope to see you again one day!

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