Time-Lapse Sequences Speed Up Toronto

Time-lapse photography is one of the most intriguing ways to capture the bustle and complexity of a major city like Toronto. Made up of hundreds of still photographs, these sequences accentuate activity via fragmentation and speed. Although film-like, they actually achieve a very different effect than the seamless flow produced by cameras that capture 24 to 60 frames per second.

Depending on the lighting conditions, a photographer working on a time-lapse sequence may capture as little as two or three images in a minute. But, when "stitched" together and sped up, the result is a fast-paced and often mechanized version of the world.

I love a a good time-lapse sequence, particularly those that shed new light on subject matter than in and of itself may seem somewhat stale. Fortunately, the blogTO Flickr pool has some pretty talented photographers who have dabbled with this technique to impressive results. Here are some of my favourites.

The always innovative Sam Javanrouh is behind the first two time-lapses featured here. The lead, which was taken during (and after) earth hour in 2008, underscores just how much air traffic crosses the sky over Toronto. Beyond that, it's just a fantastic sequence.

The above sequence is precisely what I look for in time-lapse work: the defamiliarization effect. A single capture of the Toronto Coach Terminal and the adjacent parking lot would be pretty much devoid of visual interest. The hundreds of stills run in sequence, on the other hand, drive home just what a busy hub the terminal at Dundas And Edward streets really is.

Flickr member, PDPhotography, also has some fantastic time-lapse sequences on offer. The one embedded above is particularly fitting given the time of year. And, I must say, it's rather enjoyable to watch the Zamboni move so quickly. If only such a thing were possible in reality.

Those working with time-lapse photography will often add music to their sequences to animate them even further. Some pairings work better than others, but when a good match is found (as demonstrated above), the resulting narrative tends to remind me of a film-trailer.

Construction and other drawn-out processes are the perfect subject matter for time-lapse photography. It's always difficult to conceive of the seemingly endless number of steps that occur between the breaking of ground and the completion of a major project. But, with a little help from photographers like ethervizion and the sequence above, a sense of order and purpose is revealed.

Thanks goes to the photographers for their amazing work!

Credits: Stars and Planes, wvs/Sam Javanrouh; Parking Timelapse, wvs/Sam Javanrouh; Ice Time, PDPhotography; King via Broadview, PDPhotography; Tumbling billboards, ethervizion (more of the set here).

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