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Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography

Lesson 9 of 21

Time-lapse Outdoor Photography


Innovative Techniques for Outdoor Photography

Lesson 9 of 21

Time-lapse Outdoor Photography


Lesson Info

Time-lapse Outdoor Photography

Stock time lapse, this's backyard, literally almost this's the sisters, the cascades in the center of oregon. Now I want you to notice that we're moving in. We're moving around, we're doing pans, we're zooming, and if you've ever tried to do time lapse that's pretty hard to do. In fact, you don't all of the images you're seeing here, we're done with the camera on the tripod one frame per second or so, and all of this is post process it's called the ken burns effect. The secret to doing the can burns effect is to photograph your single images at a resolution higher than what you're going to show it at, and we generally show it at h d, which is nineteen twenty by ten eight so what you do is you set your camera for either a j peg that's bigger than that or a smaller wrong. You've got small rocks and you have full size draws, a full size raw takes up too much space. So what you going to do is you're going to use a small raw or you're going to use a j peg that is maybe a three thousand or h...

igher two thousand pixels of it'll tell you that when you set your settings on the back of your can't every camera slightly different as to what a full full j peg in a small the littlest j peg is going to maybe be about nineteen twenty by ten eighty but you want to go a little bigger than that. So you take these pictures and when you put this together it's bigger than it needs to be and when you try to play it on your computer it's too big you bring it into a process processing for video such as elements, premier elements or a movie or premier, which is the big program, which could go with apple and with windows and I movie is on apple program and final metro is an apple program, but you bring it into there and now you can zoom in and you could do all kind of things. The end result is going to be an hd movie, but the ability within that movie is to zoom in and to move and to move sideways within the image and that type of stuff, so it looks like you've got all kinds of movements and you didn't it's all post process and everything you saw there was all done with single cameras, maybe several different lenses, but the cameras we're not moving in any way, nor was I trying to zoom during that it would be very difficult to zoom that during that time let's look at another one now every april well, I haven't valley the windmill tool of farms over there wouldn't shoot to the farms I have all these tulips so I go out there and this is joy a couple examples of stacking I want all these tulips to be sharp so here's some examples of sacking but then the time lapse is one second long exposures everyone second so if you stand still you gotta be a sharp image he's still for a second but if you move your blurred so I put a neutral density filter on the camera so I could get a one second exposure and then I just let it run for quite a while took a couple of different positions they had to speak tractor out there everybody wants to get their picture taken on the pink tractors and you can see here that the one second exposures gives it a whole nother look instead of just staccato looking things jumping around, things are either sitting still or they're blurred and you'll see here for a minute they try to put two twins on the seat there but they won't stay in position so they're not there very long there's a single kid you know there's a big kid there's twins in last long so it's just fun this is fun fun stuff I still have great fun with photography I have been doing photography fever sixty some years and it is it's fun now. More fun now than it has ever been and is more. I could do more things today than I could ever do at the very beginning, of course. But time lapses to me is just a very fun thing, innit? It's. A way to get you to do some video. You cameras. You've got all these cameras that can do video, but nobody's doing it and start with doing a whole bunch of stills. And for twenty nine, ninety five, what you need is a program called quicktime and that will put together that will put together your your timelines, there's several other programs out there as well that you can you can look at I think I have them listed in in those notes and you need a interval. Ometer now, if you're using nikon, the interval on matters have been built into the cameras for a number of years. You have to get out your little book and figure out where it is. It's a little bit complicated, but it will do it for you. And the interval ometer all it's doing is is giving you the timing for these pictures to be of you want a picture once every second or once every three seconds, once every four seconds. And then you make sure you have the right exposure for it and you let it run long enough to give you so many seconds of video for each one of those sections, they generally try to go longer than that. You try a number of different angles. And then when you come back, you put it together as a movie and it's just great fun. The cannon people. Up until recently, the last two cameras that cannon has made have had interval. Ometer is built in the five the s five s are has an interval ometer built in. In fact, you could do time lapses inside the camera, and it will actually put them together inside the camera. Uh, seventy mark two has the interval. Ometer is built into it as well. That at the end of the day here will show you a video that I did for cannon, using the seventy mark to just to prove the fact that it works just fine. This is the tc eighty and three, which is what I carry with me as a cable release and to do in an interval ometer to do different things with it some considerations with time life's clean your camera sensor, make sure it's clean if you have a spot that's up in the sky, it will be in every picture you do a thousand pictures for your time lapse, there will be a thousand images and it'll just stay right there on that but you can't get rid of it there's make sure you have a clean sensor you need a camera with a tripod I mean you gotta put the camera on a tripod you really do I've done a few things where I've handheld it where I've done it every half second have done a shot and I've done some things with it but it's kind of gets weird you gotta have enough power in other words, if you're going to do something over a long period of time, there have several batteries because it's going toe delete your batteries after a thousand or two thousand pictures all the sudden you're battery goes out and you got to put a new battery and um exposure should be set to manual. You don't want this thing to be bouncing around as a slight changes and as it gets darker lighter you don't want things to be changing around on you you want to be or you could go on aperture priority or auto is so if light is changing, these are very basic units there are better ways of doing this, but as starting out with this this is what I would recommend an auto isil can work very nicely as you're going from a bright day, and as the sun goes down or something you khun make that change happen, hlynur literally with the light going down low, you select the interval of this is going to be one second. Is it going to be two seconds, three seconds? Is it going to be one every hour? If you're going to do it over a course of a week or something like that? Better have a lot of batteries, but select that interval, I generally work at one second intervals, and then I could speed it up and slow it down within my software is what I do most of the time, and the content will make that consideration and he's the smallest jpeg over nineteen twenty by ten eighty, and I'm telling you to go a little higher than that in order to have the ability to do ken burns effects and the new cameras have small jape small, raw files, and that is your best choice of all, all because it's a big enough file to be bigger than hd but it's still a raw file, which allows you to then open up every image nicely by quick time pro I think it's twenty seven, twenty eight dollars something like that, I know if you're on a nikon you have are your on windows machines you have to go to apple to buy this but it still works on windows and it's a place to put it together it worked quite well and then you video program will help you to put the segments together and as I said one of the movie or uh the uh I'm trying to remember the one that's the final cut or premier premier premier elements is the less expensive one and then element then premier is the big program on the other end of that so let's look at the flower opening this is the old walt disney cactus opening and all that kind of stuff I chose daffodils because I thought they'd open very quickly it took him quite a while then I tried lilies and I was there for days but I had two different cameras the national geographic web site two days ago had a bunch of cactus flowers that were opening up on everything if you look at the if you go to their website is beautiful all these cactus flowers opening up in closing in whatever and this is the kind of thing and again this is just plain fun this is a way to take it beyond just shooting a picture of a daffodil here I shot thousands of pictures of a daffodil but uh this is how I did it I had two cameras each with an interval ometer uh one with a longer lens shooting a close up than the other one, the other one's overall, and I found out that led lights and I purchased one of these from target, and I did it for my wife to put on the bed stand so that you'd have liked to read by. And then I stole it back because I realized that it was a good light for doing photography. I do that to her a lot, and then I went and bought two more because I wanted to leave the lights on this over the course of several days, but I didn't want hot lights and lights that would burn out right away, and you can't use your flash because you're gonna burn out your flash on one one time lapse, you're going, everything is going to be burned out, so I had three of those I put little screwed up here so I could keep the black background and just let it run, and I blacked out the windows in my in the room that I was working with here, and you'll see when you saw that there was light coming on and off the base on the bottom well, that's, because it was daylight sunlight, and I couldn't keep all the light off I had to work. That I brought all those images in tow light room you bring them all in the light room you highlight one of them. You optimize that one image. You come over here and you do all the optimizing of it and then you have all these highlighted you then hit the sync button and now you have optimized all thousand of your images or whatever how many ever you have? And that's the best way to do a time laughs and have it at the best quality it's one of the reasons why have doing it inside the camera doesn't sound that good to me from the standpoint that I want to bring it into light room I want to bring up the shadows I wantto sharpened things up, maybe just a little bit hit the sync button and I got all thousand of them taken care of just like that and it's good that be able to do that quickly if you need to but I would much rather have the control. We then bring all of those into one folder. All of those images that we've optimized, we bring them into one folder uh we then decide how many frames for second we want to make that clip generally it's going to be thirty frames for second we hit okay, and the next thing you know there it is I mean it's in front of you you play it and it only took a few minutes to do it very quick very, very rewarding in a sense that you could do that now I also found out that if you let the motor drive run at ten frames per second as in this case you khun do stop action so the guy's air son deschutes river in in bend and they had kayak races where they had to go through the gates and what have you so I just left the this's a lot smoother when you when you run it not in power point but you get us kind of a staccato effect causes only ten friends for second where normal is twenty four to thirty friends for second but it's a really great way and if you do it you can do it as a large j peg every single frame in here can be a big print they are j pegs but at the same time they all go together and they play back is this and it's kind of good to bring it down to a smaller j peg as before? You bring it out look at it like this but every one of those frames was that a two thousandth of a second at faa and I was that I also four hundred and there was one hundred seventy two frames that you just looked at

Class Description


  • Create a variety of dramatic panoramas.

  • Capture rapid movements, such as the flapping of a bird’s wings.

  • Take close-up shots that depict the beauty and vibrant colors of flowers.

  • Capture images of snowflakes using specialized equipment and intricate techniques.

  • Photograph and take videos of lightning storms.

  • Use various types of additional lighting, including electronic flashes.


Are you a major gearhead who loves hearing about the latest and greatest photography equipment on the market today? Do you want to learn some amazing techniques that will take your outdoor photography game to the next level?

If you want to shoot like a pro and get an inside look at how one of the greatest outdoor photographers around makes his magic, then this is the course for you. Celebrated photographer George Lepp shares some of his best-known photographs and describes the techniques and equipment needed to capture images of wild animals, beautiful flowers, and awesome landscapes.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Paint with high-powered flashlights during long exposures.

  • Use special techniques and post-processing software programs to extend your depth of field.

  • Take macro photography shots using special lenses and extension tubes.

  • Utilize tele extenders and other tools to get high-magnification shots.

  • Use HDR to get natural looking contrast control.

  • Perform time-lapse photography with movement and panning.

  • Discover a variety of DSLR video shooting techniques.

Experienced photographers interested in exploring the intricacies of outdoor photography will love hearing George’s thrilling stories about his great outdoor and travel photography shoots all over the world like Africa and his close calls with wild animals. By the end of this course, you’ll be inspired to challenge yourself and experiment with these truly incredible techniques.


  • Experienced photographers who want to learn about cutting-edge equipment and innovative techniques for outdoor photography.

  • Photographers looking to be inspired by one of the greats and wanting to hear about his personal experiences.

  • Those who are new to outdoor photography and want an inside look at what it’s like to be a professional in the field.


George D. Lepp is one of North America’s best-known contemporary outdoor and nature photographers. His passions for natural beauty, technical precision, cutting-edge technology, and environmental responsibility are revealed in his beautiful and compelling photographic images. He is also widely recognized for his unique dedication to sharing his photographic and biological knowledge with other photographers through his seminars, writing, and inventions. George Lepp is a leader in the rapidly advancing field of outdoor photography and digital imaging. 

Lepp’s images have appeared in some of the world’s most widely viewed venues and on the covers of many books and magazines, including Natural History, Car and Driver, PC Photo, and Outdoor Photographer; at prestigious galleries and museums throughout the United States; and at the corporate headquarters of Canon USA, Eastman Kodak, and Epson America. He was chosen by Canon USA as one of the first members of its Explorers of Light program, which features the industry’s most influential photographers. He is known both for his sweeping panoramas that capture the magnificence of exotic locations and his stunning high-magnification macro renditions of subjects such as snowflakes and butterfly wings. His stock and assignment photography is represented by Getty, Corbis, and Photo Researchers. 

Lepp is regularly read in popular photographic magazines; he has contributed for thirty years as a field editor and columnist to Outdoor Photographer Magazine and more recently has published technical articles in Europe’s c’t Digital Photography Magazine. He is the author of many books, including Wildlife Photography: Stories from the Field, Golden Poppies of California, and Beyond the Basics I and II: Innovative Techniques for Outdoor and Nature Photography, as well as hundreds of articles on photography. He has taught at Photoshop World, Santa Fe Workshops, Palm Beach Workshops, and founded the Lepp Institute of Digital Imaging. Lepp is a founding board member and a fellow of the North American Nature Photographers Association and winner of many awards for his work, including Photo Media’s Photography Person of the Year and the prestigious Progress Award, the highest given by the Photographic Society of America. 

First trained in wildlife and wildlands management, George Lepp later earned a BPA and honorary MS in Professional Photography from Brooks Institute. Contact him through his web site, www.GeorgeLepp.com.


  1. Class Overview

    Get an overview of what you’ll learn in this course on creative outdoor photography, including how to do panoramas, extending your depth of field, and time-lapse photography.

  2. Types of Panorama for Outdoor Photography

    There are many different panorama techniques, from composite to hand-held to multi-camera. You’ll learn about all of them and the basic techniques for creating them right here.

  3. Gigapan and Action Pano for Outdoor Photography

    Learn to take a Gigapan panorama and get extremely big and detailed shots.

  4. Additional Lighting: Light Painting, Flash and Ambient

    George discusses options for additional outdoor photography lighting, including electronic flashes, the Better Beamer Flash Extender, and using high-powered flashlights to paint with light during long exposures.

  5. Extended Depth of Field

    Sometimes it’s important to have objects in the foreground, middle ground, and background all in sharp focus. Learn about various software programs and techniques to achieve extended depth of field photography.

  6. Macro Photography Techniques

    Learn about macro photography techniques, lenses, and extension tubes.

  7. Tele-extenders and Outdoor Photography

    Learn about using tele-extenders and other tools to get high-magnification shots of things such as a butterfly’s wings.

  8. HDR as a Tool

    High dynamic range (HDR) allows you to take multiple exposures at once and achieve natural looking contrast control within your final image. George offers a variety of HDR photography tips.

  9. Time-lapse Outdoor Photography

    Learn how to shoot time lapse photography with movement and panning.

  10. DSLR HD Video

    Learn about DSLR video shooting techniques and the essential equipment you’ll need.

  11. Cinemagraphs for Outdoor Photography

    George talks about the cinemagraph for outdoor photography, which is a still image with an element that moves.

  12. Photographing Birds

    Digital photography allows you to take incredible shots of birds and their movements. Get some bird photography tips and learn about shutter speeds and the equipment you’ll need to take your best images.

  13. Photographing Mammals

    George discusses wildlife photography techniques and his experiences shooting mammals, including speedy cheetahs, angry elephants, and hungry hippos.

  14. Photographing Birds and Mammals Q & A

    George offers some wildlife photography critiques and answers questions about his wildlife photography, including using a flash when taking pictures of birds and mammals.

  15. Macro Photography and Flowers

    George shares his flower photography techniques and confirms how he took glorious shots at Keukenhof Gardens in Holland.

  16. Photographing Butterflies

    Get some photo tips for photographing butterflies, including the importance of having a telephoto lens and a flash.

  17. Photographing Snowflakes

    Get the scoop on what you’ll need for snowflake macro photography, including special lighting, a copy stand, an adjustable base, and really cold equipment.

  18. Photographing Landscapes

    George offers some landscape photography tips for beginners and talks about some of his favorite places and landscape images.

  19. Photographing Lightning

    Learn how to photograph lightning and how to take video of lightning storms.

  20. HDR Landscapes and Time Lapse

    Learn about HDR landscape photography—compiling a series of pictures to capture various levels of light.

  21. Final Outdoor Photography Q&A

    Students get a chance to ask some final questions of George about outdoor photography ideas, including things such as panoramas, extenders, and white balance.



I watched the entire class, and found it to be a very negative experience - in contrast to all of my other experiences with Creative Live, which had been very good. The problem with this class was the instructor. Mr. Lepp, rather than giving us practical, useful information, and techniques for approaching the subject of Outdoor Photography, instead used his time to show off his seemingly endless array of incredibly expensive and cutting edge gadgetry. For the first half hour or so, Mr. Lepp seemed pleasant and interesting, but it quickly became apparent that this class was NOT about anything relating to the art of outdoor photography. Instead, it was basically a seminar highlighting exotic equipment for the 1%. I have well over $25,000 of photographic equipment, but the arena in which Mr. Lepp plays begins somewhere around the $100,000 mark, and then requires a staggering ongoing budget for chartering helicopters, hiring guides, and constant upgrades to remain on the bleeding edge of gadgetry and accessories. From his gyroscopic mounts to his 40" printer, Mr. Lepp has it ALL and continues to spend, spend, spend. I admire his deep pockets, but I would have appreciated some real insight and technique and useful knowledge on actually getting great shots. (And I must say... Mr. Lepp's work... did not impress me to the degree that other teachers on CreativeLive have.) I believe those giving positive reviews here were more or less wowed by the sheer magnitude of his extensive, well-funded travels and his off-handed way of revealing the endless contraptions and combinations of gear he uses. The passion here is clearly about the gadgetry, and NOT about finding an original and creative voice in the arena of outdoor photography.

R. Hetrick

Amazing class! I particularly loved the macro and how to correctly take panoramic photos sections. George was not only a great teacher but he was super funny too. Would be happy to take any of his future classes.


George really prepared a lot of information for his class. It is true, he does have a lot of expensive equipment and we may not be able to do some of the things he does with a smaller budget, but it is good incentive for us to plan for the future. He seemed to share new information constantly and stay focused and I was able to take a lot of notes. He talked about many kinds of equipment as well as software and websites he uses. I am pretty impressed that he is so up to date with recent technology. He especially loves macro/micro and stacking hundreds of images for minute focus on really large enlargements (for example, over 600 photos for one butterfly wing). That can get boring if you are not interested in doing that. I can take those tips and apply them to landscape photography though. I think it is more helpful for someone already doing outdoor photography and looking for new inspiration or new techniques as opposed to someone new to photography in general.