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Lightning and storm clouds over a desolate landscape.

News Time-Lapse Trends: weather

2 June 2017 Kate

“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.

Shifts in weather patterns and seasonal conditions are another popular subject matter captured by amateurs and professionals alike using time-lapse.

Weather in all its forms can be visually stunning. And rain or shine, this can be impressively captured by using time-lapse.

Seasonal patterns

With the Sun rising and falling at predictable times each day throughout the year, there are particular periods notable for favourable lighting and tonal qualities.

‘Golden hour’ – the period shortly after sunrise and before sunset – and ‘blue hour’ – the period of twilight before sunrise and the dusk after it sets – are renowned for their romantic connotations and atmospheric conditions, especially when captured on camera.

The summer months bring about much longer days and (hopefully) more appearances of the Sun, to help provide a variety of conditions for photography.

As this example by IndieDirk shows, golden hour and blue hour are ideal for time-lapse as there is noticeable movement from the Sun and the clouds.


Capturing landscapes and scenes by the waterfront add depth and texture to the image, as the Sun’s rays reflect off the water and cause dramatic shadows.

Changes in season bring about changes in colour, light, tone, atmosphere, and landscape, which translate well in the form of a time-lapse sequence.

While focusing on the progression of the seasons can be simple yet effective, there are other stylistic twists that can enhance this type of narrative.

Jeff Dougherty’s take on the seasons offers a unique perspective of his running journey, tracking a distance of over 150 miles throughout one year. Evolving with his journey are the seasons, perceived as a seamless flow of landscapes, weather, light, and cities.

Capturing clouds

Clouds are also a particularly popular weather element to capture as they often result in a fascinating display of billowing build-ups and smooth blanket-like flows.

Jack Miller’s time-lapse compilation is a good case in point, here.

The time-accelerated flow enabled by time-lapse compliments the shapeshifting movements of the clouds, making them appear effervescent and more like plumes of smoke in parts.

In some parts of the world, like in southern Scandinavia, summer nights remain in a constant twilight with the Sun lingering under the horizon for a few hours at a time.

This positioning of the Sun, combined with precise weather conditions, result in noctilucent clouds. This type of cloud is particularly tenuous, composed of tiny ice crystals in the upper atmosphere.

As this spectacular time-lapse by Adrien Mauduit Films shows, this thin layer of ice is illuminated by the Sun’s rays just below the horizon, resulting in an electric blue, yellow, orange night sky.

Stormy skies

Of course, the weather is never this tranquil on all occasions, which can be just as effective for time-lapse as fluffy clouds.

Fabio Canale captured an extremely turbulent few hours in Porto Alegre, where 75% of the expected rain for one month fell in just one night.

The slight pause as the lightning strikes is a little jarring as they add sudden flashes of white light and colour to the view. If you look close enough, you can also see the glass of the windows shaking from the force of the storm!


Snow is another time-lapse trend and the wide variety of time frames and depths of snow makes for some interesting video footage.

The level and density of snowfall can easily be measured against a particular stationary item in focus – like the coke bottle in this example by the aptly named TornadoDan.

The beauty of time-lapse is that the technique offers a dramatic rendering of the accumulation of snow on the ground, speeding up hours of winter storm footage into mere minutes and seconds.


As we have explored here, time-lapse is an ideal tool for both visualising the extreme effects of weather, as well as the subtler elements that are easy to miss.

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