Wintery weather time-lapses

Time-lapse is often put to work to capture a planned progression of something, such as the construction of a building, an indoor or outdoor event… or even extreme weather conditions.

A blizzard that hit the east coast of America in January 2016, for example, was the perfect subject for time-lapse. In situ for 48 hours, capturing at a rate of one frame every 30 seconds, this video documents the incredible snowfall in someone’s front porch in Virginia.


Compressing the completed footage down to just over a minute, the rate of playback in the video further emphasises the incredible scale of this snowfall.

A combination of time-lapse and video can also have impressive results when documenting other winter wonders.

‘Building a Palace of Ice’ by Blue Sky Films shows local volunteers at Saranac Lake, NY, making creative use of the freezing conditions. 600-pound ice blocks were cut from a nearby lake to make this incredible ice structure.

Due to the all encompassing nature of regular interval capture, there is always a chance that the camera will pick up something that is completely unexpected.


This was the case for Tony, time-lapsing in Lapland (above). Providing a live stream capturing Aurora Borealis in the night sky – a light show in the northern hemisphere which occurs when electrically charged particles from the sun collide with gases such as oxygen and nitrogen in the Earth’s atmosphere – Tony’s footage also picked up this meteor strike!

Of course, the Northern Lights in Finland are a popular subject for high quality time-lapse by many photographers.

While most of these winter scenes are lovely to look, such extreme conditions can also be incredibly harsh to work in.

As we have documented elsewhere on this blog in relation to our own work, remote access to camera systems give you plenty of scope to capture activity at any point in time without having to be hands-on with the equipment on site.

Time-lapse cameras have been put to use in this way to track the everyday behaviour of Gentoo penguins in Antarctica.

Rather than having to face the harsh winters that these animals are so used to, or even having to disturb them in their natural habitat, several cameras have been put in place to monitor certain populated breeding sites remotely.

Findings from this type of capture could have important scientific implications in terms of understanding how climate change and fisheries affect penguin populations.

So although the winter months can be challenging in terms of freezing temperatures and intense snowfalls, time-lapse can not only be a creative way in which to mediate these conditions but also a practical means of documentation during this season.

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