Time-Lapse Trends: springtime

“Time-Lapse Trends” is a video blog series which draws attention to some of the many exciting trends in time-lapse production. We feature a new trend in each instalment, to demonstrate the scope of the medium and the various ways in which it is applied, ranging from the popular to the more obscure.

As with any other season, spring is a popular subject for time-lapsers. What is special about springtime, however, is that it signifies new life, growth and rejuvenation. We look at some of the ways in which time-lapse capture is able to highlight these favourable elements.

If a quintessential spring time-lapse involves sunny scenes and colourfully rich landscapes, this (below) is the perfect example. Indeed, the weather is a basic indication of the seasons so it is often customary for media representations to utilise such visual markers.


The sky is an important subject of capture in this regard; during springtime there is plenty of beautiful celestial elements to point a camera at. As this Suffolk-themed video illustrates, time-lapse is an excellent way to represent shifting patterns in the sky.

Capturing images at much lower regular intervals than when they are played back as part of a sequence, gives the illusion that time is ‘lapsing’, or moving considerably faster than in reality. Movements of the sky – and the clouds within it – appear more discernible and dramatic.

As well as this, these kinds of celestial visuals are often used as motifs for Easter – a religious festival which takes place annually at springtime. The rising of the sun is a touching way to signify new life which carries religious connotations in Christian teaching – as do plants.

Plants function according to their own timescale so their growth is subject to a cycle different to our own. However, subtle incremental changes are made more prominent to the human eye with time-lapse. For this reason, the technique is widely applied to document the growth of plants – and at this time of year especially, there is an abundance of different kinds to choose from.

The National Geographic – a magazine and society concerned with science, geography, history, and world culture – have mastered this art of capturing flowers bloom using time-lapse photography. Filmmaker David de los Santos Gil produced this incredible video using 5,000 (out of 50,000 total) shots of floral subjects.

The black background works to emphasise every movement of the various stems and vibrantly-coloured petals as they open and fully come into bloom.

As we have explored previously, time-lapse has been incredibly useful historically as a form of scientific insight into the study of plant-life. Back in the early 1900s, Arthur C. Pilsbury used time-lapse to record the lifecycle of 500 varieties of wildflower in Yosemite, USA.

Of course, watching flowers come to life for purely aesthetic purposes is also a trending subject for spring time-lapses.


Spring Apple Blossoms by cottonceena (above) features the same plant footage played back five times over using different speeds. By the fifth repetition of this fascinating process, the flower buds literally look as though they are exploding.

As well as on a macro level, watching seasonal transformations take place on a larger scale can be just as interesting. For example, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew ‘spring’ to life in this time-lapse video.

Just from this small handful of examples, it is clear to see that spring provides an endless array of natural wonders which are conducive to time-lapse’s ability to isolate and emphasise the most complex of processes. With springtime only just beginning, now is the ideal time to enjoy the rewards that this mode of photography can bring.

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