Koyaanisqatsi – Life Out of Balance

We went yesterday to Docville 2012 (International documentary festival) in Leuven, to watch one of my favourite movies on the big screen: Koyaanisqatsi. Even after 30 years this movie never fails to impress… in the language of the Hopi, Koyaanisqatsi means “unbalanced life” – this unbalance is ilustrated in the movie (which is in fact the first part of a trilogy) by slow-motion and time-lapse footage of cities and many natural landscapes across the United States. The music by Philip Glass helps to make the movie an extraordinary experience. Here is the trailer of the movie:

First Time-Lapse Movie

Finally after a long silence another post on my blog. One of my New Year resolutions is to update the blog more often (besides renewing my website), so we will see… Fingers crossed!
Below you can find my first timelapse movie, made from pictures taken from Tienen’s water tower during a cold winterday from 10:44am until 18:10pm on 15th January 2012. The timelapse forms part of a project for the “Vlaamse Maatschappij voor Watervoorziening” (VMW) for which they requested me to supply them with pictures for each of their (87) water towers. Although the principal idea was to photograph the towers on a large format technical camera (4X5, both colour slide and B&W negative), i found it a good idea to as well have a go at a timelapse of one of the more modern water towers, ie. the one located at Tienen, Belgium. Since it was the first time I was trying out a timelapse, some trial and error was involved: arriving on site already before sunrise (around 07:00am or so) I was hopefull to be able to capture the period from sunrise upto sunset. However, some problems along the way resulted in only being able to use images as from 10:44am:
1) Setting up in pitch dark proved challenging, since focusing in manual focus mode (too dark for autofocus) was not as easy as it looked (Large format lenses have clear distance scales marked, digital lenses have this much less so). End result was that for the first 3 hours focusing was off (i saw only later), and the tower was actually unsharp…
2) during the course of the first few hours, the lens started fogging/freezing up (it was quite cold that morning) which necessitated me to clean the lens every 2 shots. This would have eventually not been a problem would the tower have been sharp at the first place.
Anyways around 10:40 I decided to check the shots on the Eos5DII’s screen (earlier I was scared to touch the camera for stability issues) and noticed the unsharpness… which I then corrected (in a way I am happy I noticed it at a certain point, imagine sitting there whole day with as end result all unsharp pictures (aaarghh)).
The shots were taken with a Canon Eos5DII, a 16-35mm lens zoomed in at 35mm, aperture at f5.6, ISO100, Av-priority, Autofocus off, Wb fixed on Sunny, JPEG – frequency was programmed for 1 shot every 32 seconds (to cover for maximum exposure time of 30 seconds). One 1 battery camera lasted (with camera review screen switched off) from 07:30am until 18:10pm. The camera was mounted on a Gitzo carbon tripod.
Conclusions from the trial: 
1) Ideally camera should be tethered to laptop/Ipad: pictures can as such more easily be checked for sharpness/composition;
2) Batterygrip (allowing camera to use 2 batteries) is mandatory for longer (summer days);
3) Eventual lens fogging to be checked on a regular basis during the shoot;
4) If anyways possible try to include the sun/moon rising/setting since this will make for more spectacular effects. 
Enough talked, here is the movie:

Timelapse Water Tower Tienen from Frank De Luyck on Vimeo.