Time-lapse photography of clouds and other atmospheric phenomena

Martin Setvak
 

Gallery 2005 - 2006:   Creative WebCam Live! Ultra

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Type:     Creative WebCam Live! Ultra

     Sensor: CCD, 640x480 pixels,
     Lens: wide-angle 76° (eqv. ~ 25 mm)
     Interface: USB 2.0

The camera comes with Creative WebCam Center software, which enables (among other features) the time-lapse capture. Though you can control the basic exposure parameters of the camera, you will still need an additional neutral-grey filter to reduce the incoming light when shooting clouds (click the picture at right). Since the images are a bit noisy, all the movies below have been filtered by Neat Image Pro+ and fine-tuned using Adobe Photoshop CS2 - check this example of the original image (top) and the same one after processing (bottom).

Because the original camera-stand [1] is somewhat impractical when shooting outdoor, I replaced it by a tripod mount, [2], [3]. This enables attaching the webcam to any regular camera tripod [4].


Major drawback of any webcam-based time-lapse shooting is the necessity of connecting the camera to a computer (or network), which limits its outdoor usage significantly. Its major advantage is the short interval you can use, starting at 1 second (in practice from about 1.2 - 1.6 seconds, depending on the computer speed). In some cases this interval is too short, so you can select a subset of the images afterwards to increase the animation speed, or set a longer interval between the images already when capturing the sequence (however, this demands some level of experience to estimate the speed in advance). The animation speed of all the movies shown below is 29.97 frames per second.

2005 - 06 - 30
11:23 - 12:17 UTC  (13:23 - 14:17 local time
)
interval:  4.2 s

20050530_1123-1217utc_step4-2s.mpg  (10.5 MB, MPEG-1)

Storm clouds above Prague, as captured from my office window at Libus. Check also our gallery of satellite images at CHMI, or EUMETSAT gallery [1] and [2].

The time stamps in bottom right corner of some of the images are in Central European Summer Time (our local time), however in meteorology we use more often the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) - for this reason you will find at the image captions both.

2005 - 07 - 16
12:03 - 12:18 UTC  (14:03 - 14:18 local time
)
interval: 1.3 s

20050716_1203-1218utc_step1-33s.mpg  (10.2 MB, MPEG-1)

South-east side of a storm above Prague. Captured from village Radimovice (SE of Prague).

2005 - 07 - 16
17:56 - 18:05 UTC  (19:56 - 20:05 local time
)
interval: 1.3 s
 

20050716_1756-1805utc_step1-2s.mpg  (6.0 MB, MPEG-1)

Evening storm south of Prague, captured from Kačerov. Notice the rotating right side of the storm. If captured at longer time-lapse interval, this rotation would not be recognized.

2005 - 07 - 24
10:45 - 12:00 UTC  (12:45 - 14:00 local time
)
interval: 2.5 s

20050724_1045-1200utc_step2-5s.mpg  (24.1 MB, MPEG-1)

Shallow convective clouds above ruins of Hazmburg castle (district Litoměřice, northwest part of the Czech Republic).

2005 - 07 - 24
13:10 - 13:40 UTC  (15:10 - 15:40 local time
)
interval: 1.2 s

20050724_1310-1340utc_step1-2s.mpg  (20.0 MB, MPEG-1)

Shallow convective clouds above Boreč Hill, Czech Central Mountains (district Litoměřice, northwest part of the Czech Republic).

2005 - 08 - 06
13:16 - 13:28 UTC  (15:16 - 15:28 local time
)
interval: 1.3 s
 

20050806_1316-1328utc_step1-3s.mpg  (7.9 MB, MPEG-1)

Shallow convective clouds above Žďárské vrchy. Captured form neighborhood of village Daňkovice (okres Ždár nad Sázavou, central part of the Czech Republic).

2005 - 09 - 22
11:52 - 13:28 UTC  (13:52 - 15:28 local time
)
interval: 4.5 s

20050922_1152-1328utc_step4-5s.mpg  (16.4 MB, MPEG-1)

Storm clouds above the Adriatic coast from Dubrovnik (Croatia).

2005 - 09 - 22
14:41 - 14:51 UTC  (16:41 - 16:51 local time
)
interval: 2.2 s

20050922_1441-1451utc_step2-2s.mpg  (3.9 MB, MPEG-1)

Storm clouds above the Adriatic coast from Dubrovnik (Croatia), about 1 hour later.

2006 - 07 - 29
13:00 - 14:25 UTC  (15:00 - 16:25 local time
)
interval: 2.3 s

20060729_1300-1425utc_step2-3s.mpg  (28.5 MB, MPEG-1)

Convective clouds above Váh Valley. Captured from hill Chrást, village Bzince pod Javorinou (district Nové Mesto nad Váhom, west part of Slovakia). See the same as captured by Kodak P880.

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