F-Stop Gear Ups The Ante For The Serious Adventure Photographer

I love my two F-stop packs but there has been a problem my friend Ben Fullerton and I talked about years ago; lack of a pack suitable for ample photography gear AND overnight backpacking essentials. Their Satori EXP came close but lacked the serious volume needed. Yesterday F-stop Continue Reading →

2015 Calendars Are Ready!

I’m happy to announce this year I am releasing not one, not two, but seven different 2015 wall calendars! And because of price drops, all calendars are just $15 (+S&H). The subjects of each calendar are : US National Parks Sunrise & Sunset Himalayas in Color Himalayas in Continue Reading →

Sample The New Panorama eBook Before Its Release

This is the post where I admit to being human. Again. It happens often. You see, I get ambitious and sometimes don’t schedule accurately when I have a new project. Especially when the project includes something like “Learn and semi-master Adobe InDesign”. InDesign is an awesome program and Continue Reading →

Introducing The Limited Edition Print Collector’s Club

I am happy to announce the start of something new. For those interested in signed, limited edition prints of my images, crafted with archival quality paper and ink to last a lifetime, I have started the Peter West Carey Photography Limited Edition Print Collector’s Club. For an annual Continue Reading →

An Inspirational Landscape Photo Book

I have had the good fortune of befriending a number of amazing photographers over the 23 years I have been shooting. This week a number of them released a landscape photography book I couldn’t pass up, titled: The Insightful Landscape. Mind you, the price tag for the hardbound Continue Reading →

Glory Effect As Seen Out Alaska Airlines 737 Window

Full Rainbow ‘Glory’ And Plane Shadow On Clouds from Peter West Carey on Vimeo. Breaking through the marine layer on departure from John Wayne Airport in Southern California, the shadow of our Boeing 737, operated by Alaska Airlines, can be seen on the clouds below. Around the plane Continue Reading →

Riviera Maya Caves And Cenotes Worth Returning To

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The place was called Indiana Joe’s and yes, they used the same font at the Indiana Jones franchise, so I knew there was a good chance of cheesiness involved. Joe’s was made up around two central, natural features, a pretty cool cave system and a cenote, which is a naturally occurring underground pool.

My daughter and I were visiting Indiana Joe’s along the Riviera Maya coast of Mexico on a press trip and dang it was hot. Melting-my-brain hot. Or at least, frying-my-patience-for-a-heat-weary-kid hot. We were luxuriated with an air conditioned van, a driver and a local guide, so it seems odd to complain, but we’re from the Pacific Northwest and this kind of heat saps our strength.

Once outside of the van at Joe’s the temperature could be felt and we were eager for the caves, knowing they would be naturally air conditioned. Later we would find the cenote to be frigid, but in a good way. I have no pictures of the cenote and that is a shame, because it is a cool swim-around cave.

The funny thing about tourist attractions in this part of Mexico is they often have to make stuff up to gain tourists and Indiana Joe’s is no different. We not only visited the cave and cenote, but also the ‘zoo’ they have there. We passed on the ziplines, opting to do those another day at another place. It’s a little cheesy, but understandable since most tourists in this area want to sit on the beach and maybe see some Mayan ruins at Tulum. Maybe.

The cave system was a leisurely 50 minute walk as I remember it and quite fascinating. In places they have to chisel new paths, but 80% of the cave is natural formations and passages. It’s not a ‘true’ caving experience as there are lights-a-plenty, but it is pretty cool to look at all the same. Kids will love it and if they don’t, just mention, “Where do you think the dragons sleep?” and you will have them hooked. It’s that kind of awesome.

I love places like this, honestly. The fact that thousands of people have been through the caves and they have been blasted in places to make passage does not take away from the awe and childish wonder in me. I love the formations and marveling at what time and water can do.

Take a look for yourself at the images above. (If you can’t see the images, click here to see the post online)

Oh wait! Obligatory, but useful, links to our hosts: Indiana Joe’s & Riviera Maya.

This is one place I would visit again on my own. It was cool (and refreshing!) and I love caves. If anyone else wants me to take pictures of their caves, drop me a line.

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Experiencing The Final, Fire-Laden Ceremony Of The Kharchu Dratshang Drupcheen in Jakar, Bhutan

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I love good fortune. While we had some days with rain for our 2013 Bhutan Photo Tour, we had some good fortune as well.

Having previously been to the Namkhe Nyingpo Goemba (Monastery) above the town of Jakar in Central Bhutan, I knew it as a great spot for sunset photos. After a day of trouncing around the countryside our group gathered in our trusty van and headed up the small, winding road (this describes almost ALL Bhutanese roads, by the way) to the monastery, hoping for a break in the clouds just at sunset.

What we were greeted with instead was a parking lot full of cars. Monasteries in Bhutan don’t have a lot of cars because the monks don’t drive much, if at all. We came to find out there was a retreat going on and that the next day there would be a ceremony in the courtyard. I’ll have more on the indoor ceremony we found that night in another post as it was a unique experience (we were allowed to take photos during the ceremony inside the temple, which is usually not allowed).

At the appropriate time the next day we headed up the hill again and watched as the monks set up for the ceremony, burned a lot of offerings and then ignited a huge fireball near the end of everything. You can see the fireball about 2/3 the way into this photo essay.

The experience was fascinating even though we didn’t understand a word of what was being said. I loved the pageantry and colors most of all and it was fun to be at on a local event.

How To Use This Slideshow For Best Effect

If you are reading this in a RSS viewer or on email, I suggest you click on over to a webbrowser. It works on your phone, tablet or computer. The bigger the screen the better. Here’s a link to make it easier for you.

Now do you see that x in the upper right corner above this text? Once you click that, you’ll have a full browser view of the images. You can then use the control arrows at the bottom of the image or your mouse’s scroll wheel. Or just flick them aside on your tablet like you would other pictures.

Feedback, Please

I would love you feedback on this new format. I know it will load slower as the images are each about 2MB (and there are 57 of them here, so that’s 100MB+), but other than that, how does it work for you?

Touring Hawaii Via Helicopter

Taking off in a helicopter is unlike any commercial airline flight you have ever experienced. As forward thrust is not needed, there is no ‘pinned to your seat’ feeling. Your seat simply starts lifting into the air with what feels like effortless will despite the roar of the Continue Reading →

View On The Forest Floor In An Alaska Rainforest

What’s lurking on the floor of an Alaskan rainforest? Plenty! For my daughter, girlfriend and I, cruising with InnerSea Discoveries in Alaska’s Inside Passage this last summer allowed more than one opportunity to take a small skiff ashore and wander in pristine temperate rainforest. Not only that, I Continue Reading →

Win A 21 Day All-Expense Paid Photo Trek In Nepal And Help Passports With Purpose

A simple $10 donation could win you a trip of a lifetime. A simple $10 donation, 100% of which will help Water.org build freshwater wells in Haiti, could land you in Nepal for a 21 day Photo Trek with me, Peter West Carey. Here’s the executive summary: Passports Continue Reading →

Win A Stylish f-stop Kenti Mountain Series Camera Bag And Help Passports With Purpose

Thanks to f-stop Gear, I we have yet another camera bag up for grabs with your support of Passports With Purpose. Before I get to how you can help this grassroots organization do good in the world, let me give you the rundown on what’s at stake. The Continue Reading →

Petra By Night

Petra By Night is a special occasion to experience the majesty of one of Jordan‘s crown jewels as lit by hundreds of luminaries after the sun has set. The crowds are less, the heat of the day is gone and a hushed calm pervades the burnt, orange sandstone Continue Reading →

Rafting The Roaring Fork River In Colorado

The raft shot up the wall of a wave four feet high just 30 feet after leaving shore with the five seemingly drunk clients flailing paddles into last night’s snow melt waters with no more precision nor coordination than an elephant on a three week heroin bender trying Continue Reading →

Kids In The City – Expedia’s Useful Tips For Family Travel This Summer

I love planning. I don’t like random email pitches from PR or product companies. Today the two worlds collide. That’s because Expedia pitched me something I ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT AND WILL USE! It doesn’t happen often. It’s their Kids In The City program and you might be able Continue Reading →

Using iTimeLapse Pro For iPhone Time-Lapse On A Plane

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Getting Started

IMG_0779Welcome! This tutorial will explain the steps I take when using my iPhone to create time-lapse movies shot from commercial airliners, as seen above. I will be explaining how I use iTimeLapse Pro, my app of choice in this post which is a companion to another post I wrote on Digital Photography School that explains the process of setting up the shoot to ensure best results from the app. I suggest you check out that post in addition to this one to gather the whole picture (pun intended, always).

iTimeLapse Pro is a very useful app as it will shoot and create the video for you. No need to download the images and compile them in a computer. That does create some limitations in regard to exposure smoothing between images, but for what it is, this app is a great tool. Here then are my suggestions for using the app to gain the most of airborne time-lapse shoots.

Turn Off Auto Lock

Auto Lock is your enemy here. Turn it off. It can be found by going to your iPhone’s Settings menu, then General then Auto-Lock. When your phone locks, image capture stops.

Name Your Video Before You Start

Speaking from experience, naming videos before you start is the way to go. In the excitement of creating these short movies, I have often become confused about which video is which. They all start to look the same when the sample image is of the horizon and ground.

Bigger Is Not Always Better

The app has a number of settings for the camera resolution. I choose the Good settings of 1920×1440. This allows for longer videos without making them too huge. For instance, at this setting I shot the SEA-LAX video with 690 frames on this setting (which, the app tells me, is about 2.6MB/image). The final size on disk of that video’s still images is 1.1GB, while the final video is only 39MB (at 720p HD). If I had shot this at the Best setting, it would have taken up 2GB on disk and this can be problematic at times.

Use The Start Delay

IMG_0780The start delay will be your friend and stop you from becoming too frantic while setting up your shoot.

Turn The Flash Off, Mostly

There is a flash feature on this app and for shooting video out plane windows, it is all but useless. Turn it off so it doesn’t accidentally (in auto mode) decide to come on. This feature will becomign available when you start capturing your images. Leaving a long Start Delay will help you turn this feature off without messing up your shots.

Judge Your Timing

Timing for time-lapse is greatly influenced by speed and distance. If objects are further away, you will need a longer interval between shots to show movement (or risk a super long video that no one will watch). If objects are very close, shorter timing is needed. For a typical flight, I prefer every 4 seconds when at altitude. This allows for a smooth enough movement and a decent video length.

Turn The Volume Off

By default iTimeLapse Pro makes a shutter sound with each shot. In a plane, this is not that big of a deal as the ambient noise will likely cover it up. Still, I notice the noise once in a while, even with my bad hearing, and wonder where it’s coming from. It’s best to not have to listen to it (and this is helpful advice for other shooting situations as well). Don’t do this if you are still listening to music on your iPhone.

Record Ample Shots

IMG_0781Most video plays back at 24 frames a second or 30 frames a second. I have found, with shooting at a frame every four seconds, I can get decent video down to 16 frames a second on a plane. This means, if I want to capture 10 seconds of film (just about a minimum for most viewers) I need to capture 160 frames. That will take about 11 minutes when all is said and done. Do this calculation first so you are not tempted to stop early just to see what you got.

Now all you need to do is hit Start Time Lapse, align the camera and shoot away! TIP: Use the window shade to hold the camera in place, or grab a GorillaMobile to help keep the camera in the best location.

When you are finished recording, press Exit to be brought back to the main menu.

Edit Out The Bad Frames

Maybe setting up the iPhone didn’t go as smoothly as you hoped and you captured a few extra frames. Or perhaps the last 20 frames weren’t needed. Click on the Details tab and then click Edit Frames. On this screen you can remove any frame, anywhere, the doesn’t work for you.

Rendering Options

On the Render screen you have a number of options. The first is frames per second. As I mentioned, I suggest 16 frame a second for plane flights otherwise the video can be quite fast. Play with this and see what works best for you. There is also the option to create a video to a particular length.

IMG_0782Change the file name to something intelligent so you can find it later.

Video resolution is up to you. I suggest choosing 1080p video and pick the 1440×1080 option, unless you shot your video with the idea of cropping out the top and bottom. If you make your video 16:9 ratio, it will not compress the proportions, it will simply crop off the top and bottom.

A Music Soundtrack can be added as well on this screen so you can pick a song from your library.

Video Quality? 100%, unless space on your phone is an issue.

After clicking Render Now, your phone will create the video for you to watch. For the example here with 690 frames, it took 7 minutes. You can leave it to run in the background but you can’t create another time-lapse while it runs. So it might be a good idea to capture your videos while the time is right then render them when the capturing moments have passed.

Share!

When your video is finished, it’s time to share with the world. There are three online options here; YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo. As expected, each will require a one time authentication with the service in order to share, but after that, you’re set.

IMG_0784There are options to save the movie to your Camera Roll so it can be used with other apps. You can also email the video if it is small. USB is an option to copy the file to your computer when connected via USB and with iTunes running. Instructions for all of these methods popup when selected. Lastly, Local Wifi Sharing is available if your cable is not available.

Conclusion

Oh! One more note. You can listen to music while the images are being captured. Just make sure to start it before the action begins.

iTimeLapse is a fun app with even more features than mentioned here. It is a useful tool that does just want I need it to do when creating fun time-lapse videos from a plane.

Suggested Equipment:

Photo Of The Day – Lima Cityscape Panorama Exploration

The detail in this Lima image is amazing. I love quality optics. Be sure to zoom in on the coast and explore the colorful, compact city. The overall image is 26535 x 4486 = 119 megapixels To use this image, simply click and drag to move around. Use Continue Reading →

Photo Of The Day – Colorado River Panorama Exploration

To use this image, simple click and drag to move around. Use your scroll wheel to zoom in and out, or use [Shift] to zoom in and [CTRL] to zoom out.  And if you want to turn things up a notch, right click and choose “Fullscreen”. Have fun! Continue Reading →

Photo Of The Day – Nepal Himalaya Panorama Exploration

Another immersion panorama for you today. This one is made from 117 images (39 vertical shots of 3 images to create HDR ‘stacks’). Overall size is 26,194 x 5062 = about 132 megapixels. It’s big and will take a while to load. Be patient, it’s quicker than walking Continue Reading →

Bomb Threat On Washington State Ferry Cathlamet, Or, How A Possible Stoner Made My Daughter Late For School

It’s not as if the Washington Ferries run like clockwork. They try to. And the Mukilteo-Clinton run I was waiting for happens to have the best on-time performance in the fleet. So my curiosity was piqued when, at the normal time of seven minutes until departure, the ferry Continue Reading →

Around Town: Seattle – The Museum Of Flight

When I was growing up I wanted to be a pilot. Before that I wanted to be a farmer. No reason for the second sentence other than I like to share. When I was growing up there was no Museum of Flight. It came into existence on the Continue Reading →

Around Town: Los Angeles – The Griffith Observatory

When I recently visited Los Angeles I was happy that I could actually see Orion in the night sky for two reasons: #1 It was winter and I live near Seattle, so seeing stars in winter doesn’t happen that often and #2 LA is a massive sprawl of Continue Reading →

Win Free Photo Gear Rental

It’s that time of year again! The time when a bunch of bloggers get together (on the internet) and decide they want to help out others. This annual event is called Passports With Purpose and is run, entirely on volunteer power (read: 100% of donations goes to the Continue Reading →

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Instruction Now Available

Howdy! I’m happy to announce that I will begin teaching Adobe Photoshop Lightoom on an individual basis this month. While I have some travel plans in the near future (Portland, OR in September) I will be further expanding to offer remote instruction over the Internet in September for Continue Reading →

Grab Yourself A Star Chart Before Your Next Trip

Before you head out on your next gallivanting journey into the unknown world outside your borders, or even if you are heading off on a road trip vacation, do you and your family a favor; buy a star chart. A star chart is just as it sounds, a Continue Reading →

Win A 12 Week Travel Photography Course From MatadorU

For those of you looking for more photography learning, have I an offer for you. I’m teaming up with MatadorU to offer their Travel Photography Program, a $350 course, to one lucky winner of a random drawing here on The Carey Adventures. For those looking to possibly make Continue Reading →

Photos From Hawaii’s Fish Market

The forecast for the day says “Highs In The 80s” as I grab my Polartech fleece jacket and wander down the hall of the Ohana Wikiki Beachcomber at 4:30am. My eyes are not fully open, even with the aid of a shower. How did I let the Nerd Continue Reading →