Time-lapse photography of clouds and other phenomena in the sky

Martin Setvak

Gallery 2008 - Ricoh GX100  

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Beginning this year, my primary camera for time-lapse photography is the Ricoh Caplio GX100. Main advantages of Ricoh GX100 over Kodak P880 are its shorter basic interval (5 seconds), unlimited number of shots that can be taken within one series (limited by memory card size and battery capacity only), and also the significantly smaller size of the camera. More on settings of the Ricoh cameras in the time-lapse (interval) mode can be found here.

2008 - 02 - 09   17:50 - 18:18 UTC   (0h 28m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 seconds,  speed 150x

20080209_1750-1818utc_LaCaleta.mpg  (10.7 MB, 1024x672, MPEG1)
20080209_1750-1818utc_LaCaleta.mov  (12.4 MB, 1024x672,
H.264 / QuickTime)

First of the time-lapse series from our vacation at Tenerife, Canary Islands. It shows typical convective clouds, forming at the slopes of the coastal hills surrounding the island. In the foreground is La Caleta, small fisherman village, while in the distance is Playa de las Americas, an extensive tourist agglomeration.

2008 - 02 - 09   18:32 - 18:50 UTC   (0h18m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 seconds,  speed 150x

20080209_1832-1850utc_Gomera.mpg  (6.8 MB, 1024x672, MPEG1)
20080209_1832-1850utc_Gomera.mov  (7.7 MB, 1024x672,
H.264 / QuickTime)

Sunset hidden behind shower clouds, next to Gomera Island. Captured from cliffs near La Caleta village, Tenerife, Canary Islands.

2008 - 02 - 10   13:44 - 15:10 UTC   (1h 26m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 seconds,  speed 150x

20080210_1344-1510utc_Teide.mpg  (16.2 MB, 1024x672, MPEG1)
20080210_1344-1510utc_Teide.mov  (17.0 MB, 1024x672,
H.264 / QuickTime)

Clouds forming in the lee of Pico del Teide (3718 m), Tenerife. While in the lowest 3 km layer the winds were very weak on that day (almost calm), higher above this level the winds were much stronger, blowing from the northwest (from the left in these images). This resulted in wake rotor motion to right of the Teide summit, manifested by rolling clouds there...

2008 - 02 - 14   15:50 - 16:40 UTC   (0h 50m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 seconds,  speed 150x

20080214_1550-1640utc_MontanaBlanca.mpg  (10.0 MB, 1024x672, MPEG1)
20080214_1550-1640utc_MontanaBlanca.mov  (9.9 MB, 1024x672,
H.264 / QuickTime)

Low clouds above the southeastern coast of Tenerife, as viewed from the summit of Montańa Blanca (2750 m). Similar situations are quite typical for the island - while the slopes of the coastal mountains or the entire coast are covered by low clouds, the highland plateau surrounded by Circo Cańadas Mts. (2300 - 2700 m) enjoys clear skies. If any clouds manage to overflow this ridge, they usually quickly dissolve, as in this case. See also the MODIS/Terra image taken at 11:40 UTC (where the red dot indicates the location from where the sequence was taken, and the arrow its direction), and also a full-day loop from Meteosat 9 satellite.

2008 - 02 - 18   15:57 - 16:45 UTC   (0h 48m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 seconds,  speed 150x

20080218_1557-1645utc_Guajara.mpg  (9.5 MB, 1024x672, MPEG1)
20080218_1557-1645utc_Guajara.mov  (10.3 MB, 1024x672,
H.264 / QuickTime)

"River of clouds" above the southeastern coast of Tenerife, captured from Degollada de Guajara Pass (2375 m), under Guajara Mt. (2717 m). Thin dark layers in the distance are clouds of Saharan dust, making their way across the Atlantic Ocean. This dust passed above Tenerife on the next day (see the following case). See also the MODIS/Aqua 14:28 UTC image and the Meteosat 9 loop.

2008 - 02 - 19   11:58 - 12:35 UTC   (0h 37m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 seconds,  speed 150x

20080219_1158-1235utc_Teide.mpg  (7.9 MB, 1024x672, MPEG1)
20080219_1158-1235utc_Teide.mov  (12.5 MB, 1024x672,
H.264 / QuickTime)

Pico del Teide, low clouds above Orotava Valley and the northwest coast of Tenerife, as viewed from Mirador les Cumbres (~ 1900 m). Since it was almost calm at the lowest 2 km, the clouds do not flow anywhere, but only "bubble" and "splash" around. Above the 2 km level were very strong winds from the west, which also brought some Saharan dust during this sequence. The dust layer seems to be vertically very thin, drifting between about the 2 to 3.5 km levels. See also the MODIS/Terra 11:55 UTC image (in this case taken exactly with the beginning of the Ricoh sequence), and the Meteosat 9 loop (showing nicely the thin dust clouds drifting eastward).

2008 - 02 - 19   18:32 - 19:01 UTC   (0h 29m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 seconds,  speed 150x

20080219_1832-1901utc_LaCaleta.mpg  (5.8 MB, 1024x672, MPEG1)
20080219_1832-1901utc_LaCaleta.mov  (5.4 MB, 1024x672,
H.264 / QuickTime)

Sunset from our balcony at the Jardin Caleta Hotel, with La Caleta village in the foreground. My last time-lapse movie, captured at Tenerife...

2008 - 04 - 14   13:02 - 14:30 UTC   (1h 28m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 seconds,  speed 150x

20080414_1302-1430utc_Radostovice.mpg  (16.3 MB, 1024x736, MPEG1)
20080414_1302-1430utc_Radostovice.mov  (16.9 MB, 1024x736,
H.264 / QuickTime)

Reflections ... Shallow convective clouds above a lake at south Bohemia. Taken at Radostovice (distr. Tábor), Czech Republic. 

2008 - 05 - 10   10:43 - 12:31 UTC   (1h 48m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 seconds,  speed 150x

20080510_1043-1231utc_Hazmburk.mpg  (19.3 MB, 1024x672, MPEG1)
20080510_1043-1231utc_Hazmburk.mov  (21.3 MB, 1024x672,
H.264 / QuickTime)

"Rolling" cumulus clouds above ruins of Hazmburk castle in the České středohoří Mts. (in German Böhmishes Mittelgebirge), district Litoměřice, NW part of the Czech Republic.

2008 - 06 - 09   17:05 - 17:42 UTC   (0h 37m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 secondsspeed 150x

20080609_1705-1742utc_Roztyly.mpg  (5.2 MB, 1024x640, MPEG1)
20080609_1705-1742utc_Roztyly.mov  (4.4 MB, 1024x640,
H.264 / QuickTime)

Smaller cumulonimbus cloud east of Prague. Captured from anti-noise mound above highway Praha-Brno, close to Roztyly, direction Chodov, Prague, Czech Republic.

2008 - 06 - 23   03:32 - 03:44 UTC   (0h 12m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 secondsspeed 120x

20080623_0332-0344utc_Krc.mpg  (3.7 MB, 1024x752, MPEG1)
20080623_0332-0344utc_Krc.mov  (4.4 MB, 1024x752,
H.264 / QuickTime)

Outflow boundary of a weak morning thunderstorm. Taken from a window of our flat at Kačerov, towards south (direction Krč). Prague, Czech Republic.

2008 - 06 - 23   08:34 - 09:44 UTC   (1h 10m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 secondsspeed 150x

20080623_0834-0944utc_Kacerov.mpg  (17.6 MB, 1024x640, MPEG1)
20080623_0834-0944utc_Kacerov.mov  (20.2 MB, 1024x640,
H.264 / QuickTime)

Convective storm travelling eastward across the north parts of Bohemia, and wave clouds at higher levels. Captured from our flat, from a window facing north. In couple of years we will loose this view due to a new administrative center which will be built here, just across the highway. Prague - Kačerov, Czech Republic.

2008 - 06 - 25   15:30 - 17:00 UTC   (1h 30m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 seconds,  speed 150x

20080625_1530-1700utc_Praha.mpg  (21.0 MB, 1024x672, MPEG1)
20080625_1530-1700utc_Praha.mov  (22.7 MB, 1024x672,
H.264 / QuickTime)

Passage of severe convective storms above Prague. Namely in this case I strongly recommend the MOV file, it is much better than the MPG movie (which suffers too much from compression artifacts). This image (take at 1638 UTC) shows among other a feature resembling a funnel cloud, apparently above the Žižkov TV tower; and this strongly enhanced movie (MOV file only, 3.4 MB, speed 10x) shows several other short-lived features (possibly funnel clouds) in the area. Captured from our flat at Kačerov, Prague, Czech Republic (northward view).

2008 - 07 - 25   14:30 - 14:51 UTC   (0h 21m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 seconds,  speed 150x

20080725_1430-1450utc_Libus.mpg  (4.7 MB, 1024x672, MPEG1)
20080725_1430-1450utc_Libus.mov  (4.1 MB, 1024x672,
H.264 / QuickTime)

Smaller cumulonimbus cloud south of Prague. Captured from the former radar tower of CHMI at Praha - Libuš, Czech Republic.

2008 - 07 - 26   16:48 - 17:45 UTC   (0h 57m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 secondsspeed 150x

20080726_1648-1745utc_Decinsky-Sneznik.mpg  (11.0 MB, 1024x704, MPEG1)
20080726_1648-1745utc_Decinsky-Sneznik.mov  (11.1 MB, 1024x704,
H.264 / QuickTime)
20080726_1648-1745utc_Decinsky-Sneznik.mp4  (15.1 MB, 1024x704,
H.264 / MPEG-4)

Showers and crepuscular rays cast by a smaller thunderstorm above Krušné Hory (Erzgebirge), captured from Děčínský Sněžník (723 m), NW Bohemia, Czech Republic. Besides the showers under the storm itself, notice also the cirrus fallout from the storm anvil.

2008 - 08 - 30   10:05 - 10:48 UTC   (0h 43m)      HD 720, HD 1080
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 secondsspeed 150x

20080830_1005-1048utc_Novomestska-vez.mpg  (13.9 MB, 1024x656, MPEG1)
20080830_1005-1048utc_Novomestska-vez.mov  (13.2 MB, 1024x656,
H.264 / QuickTime)

Shallow convective clouds above Prague, with Petřín Hill (left) and the Prague Castle (right). View from the Tower of the New Town Hall in Prague, Czech Republic. Below are my first experiments with HD format:

20080830_1280x720.mp4  (H.264, 11.8 MB)
20080830_1280x720.mov  (H.264, 18.5 MB)

20080830_1920x1080.mp4  (H.264, 11.9 MB)
20080830_1920x1080.mov  (H.264, 55.5 MB)

2008 - 09 - 27   05:15 - 07:47 UTC   (2h 32m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 seconds,  speed 150x

20080927_0515-0747utc_Gosau.mpg  (23.7 MB, 1024x672, MPEG1)
20080927_0515-0747utc_Gosau.mp4  (28.4 MB, 1024x672, H.264 / MPEG-4)

Early morning fog and low clouds above Gosau Valley. Captured from Gosau, view towards Gosaukamm mountains range. Salzkammergut region, Upper Austria.

2008 - 09 - 28   12:08 - 14:20 UTC   (2h 12m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 seconds,  speed 150x

20080928_1208-1420utc_Dachstein.mpg  (27.5 MB, 1024x672, MPEG1)
20080928_1208-1420utc_Dachstein.mp4  (28.3 MB, 1024x672, H.264 / MPEG-4)

Tiny orography clouds forming above of the Dachstein range (2995 m, center of the image) and Gossaukamm range (right), and their shadows cast at the hills above the lake Vorderer Gosausee (933 m), view from Sonnenalm. Salzkammergut region, Upper Austria.

2008 - 09 - 29   07:04 - 07:45 UTC   (0h 41m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 seconds,  speed 150x

20080929_0704-0745utc_Hallstatt.mpg  (9.6 MB, 1024x672, MPEG1)
20080929_0704-0745utc_Hallstatt.mp4  (11.4 MB, 1024x672,
H.264 / MPEG-4)

Breeze clouds and Kelvin-Helmholtz instability vortices, forming early morning as a result of complex circulation at mountain slopes, surrounding the Hallstättersee and Hallstatt. Salzkammergut region, Upper Austria.

2008 - 09 - 29   14:30 - 16:55 UTC   (2h 25m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 seconds,  speed 150x

20080929_1430-1655utc_Dachstein-Gosausee.mpg  (26.5 MB, 1024x768, MPEG1)
20080929_1430-1655utc_Dachstein-Gosausee.mp4  (30.9 MB, 1024x768,
H.264 / MPEG-4)

Pre-frontal altocumulus clouds, moving and forming above the Dachstein range, reflected in the lake Vorderer Gosausee. Alps, Salzkammergut region, Upper Austria.

2008 - 10 - 05   08:00 - 10:05 UTC   (2h 05m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 seconds,  speed 150x

20081005_0800-1005utc_Libus.mp4   (75 MB, 1024x736, H.264 / MPEG-4

Waves of altocumulus clouds above central Bohemia. Captured from my CHMI office window at Praha - Libuš, Czech Republic.

Note: big size of this file originates from the fast moving branches of nearby trees, resulting in poor compression efficiency. Also, it was impossible to create a reasonable MPEG-1 file for this case.

2008 - 10 - 11   05:48 - 07:32 UTC   (1h 44m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 seconds speed 125x

20081011_0548-0732utc_Cachtice.mpg  (29.1 MB, 1024x704, MPEG-1)
20081011_0548-0732utc_Cachtice.mp4  (30.7 MB, 1024x704,
H.264 / MPEG-4)

Ruins of the Čachtice Castle, and early morning fog. I have known this beautiful castle at the north part of Small Carpathian Mountains since my childhood - my father comes from a nearby village Bzince pod Javorinou, where I spent almost every summer when I was a kid. District of Nové Mesto nad Váhom, western Slovakia.

2008 - 11 - 09   14:40 - 15:25 UTC   (0h 45m)
Ricoh GX100,  interval 5 seconds,  speed 125x

20081109_1440-1525utc_HlasnaTreban.mpg  (11.9 MB, 1024x656, MPEG-1)
20081109_1440-1525utc_HlasnaTreban.mp4  (14.9 MB, 1024x656,
H.264 / MPEG-4)

Prefrontal wave clouds and air-traffic contrails at sunset. Captured from a hill close to Karlštejn, a famous medieval castle southwest of Prague, Czech Republic.

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