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Timelapse: the equivalent of Photography in motion, Photography with Life

by Martin Zalba 
Published the 11th of September 2020

For almost two years, I have been doing timelapses. It is a photographic technique that has always interested me, because in addition, it gives me the possibility of uniting in them the two facets to which I dedicate myself: music and photography.

Timelapse is a photographic technique that allows us to see events that normally go unnoticed by our eyes: At night, the movement of stars and clouds, how the lights and shadows move when the moon is present ... in the sky, how light evolves at sunrise and sunset, watch the sun rise, lie down at sunset far from the horizon ... how the clouds travel different paths in the sky, their voluptuous movement, how they form and disappear in the same place ... movement and action almost imperceptible to our eyes.


 La Palma (Canary Islands) 2020 by Author and Composer Martin Zalba

Timelapse is a set of sequences, it is photography in motion, photography with life that recreates environments ...

Currently there are not many people who are dedicated to timelapse (not as many as in photography) because it requires a lot of field work (a 5-minute timelapse can cost several months or even a year) to have a certain quality photographic equipment. A very powerful computer in which to process thousands of photographs, to know in depth the photo and video editing programs (Lightroom, Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects ...) is a very technical job with a high aesthetic requirement.

To all this is added that at the time of performing each sequence, interesting things happen and many times you return home without doing much ... and you have to return another day ...

It should also be borne in mind that the photographic approach changes a bit with respect to photography. Let me explain: many frames may not work very well as photographs, which have aesthetic interest, and in timelapse they do because events are recorded: movement not perceptible to the naked eye, changes in lights, colour …


Evanescencias - Evanescences by Author and Composer Martin Zalba

A night time timelapse sequence takes several hours to make. Keep in mind that 12 seconds of film are made in about three hours of taking pictures, photographs that take 20-30 seconds to take and that each second of film is 30 frames ...

A sunset-night sequence takes between 5-6 hours to complete and between 900 and 1200 photographs are obtained, to which the parameters must be changed: aperture, ISO and exposure time, in addition to changing the pauses between photo and photo .


Cuando la noce amanece / When the night  dawns by Author and Composer Martin Zalba

Regarding the equipment, it is necessary to have a good camera and lenses, tripods, a Slider (a device that moves the camera from one place to another while taking pictures to give a greater sense of movement) and that it must be programmed in advance. I also use a device that changes the parameters of the camera when doing an afternoon-night or night-dawn timelapse and that must be previously programmed.

Once at home, the sequences are processed with various programs: Lightroom, LRTimelapse. The processing is very delicate because you have to take into account the changes in light and colour that are happening, it is a very meticulous way of processing and at the same time it must be very natural.

As it is a film, with all the sequences already prepared, you have to compose a story, a visual path, a journey of events. A timelapse normally has a common theme and is composed of about 20 sequences or more.

Once I have finished editing and editing the timelapse, I compose the music making sure that it enhances what is being seen. At the same time, scene changes are matched with changes in music. Synchronizing music and pictures is a long, expensive and complex process. Music enhances and complements the visual environment of the timelapse.

In my case, it is a perfect symbiosis: uniting photography and music, my two great passions...


Bardenas Tempus Fugit  by Author and Composer Martin Zalba

(Official selection Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards 2020)
(Music Awarded in Global Music Awards)


Espectacular y emocionante. Magnífico trabajo, Martín, enhorabuena.
muchas gracias Mikel
Amazing, beautiful work. And music is excellent part of all yours artistic masterpieces. You are excellent photograph and excellent music compositor.
Thank you very much for your kind words!
Es un trabajo impresionante, de gran belleza. Compositor de imágenes, de sonidos, lo tienes todo. Toda mi admiración, Martin. Un abrazo cordial en en estos tiempos de distancias.
Muchas gracias Adolfo por tus palabras, que estas imágenes y música, nos acerquen a todos un poco más!

Thank you very much Adolfo for your words, may these images and music bring us all a little closer!

Un abrazo!
Fantastic! Many congrats!
Thank you!
Martin, una vez mas, un excelente y arduo trabajo.Puedes con todo: Fotografía nocturna, infrarroja, ahora timelapse. Siempre innovando, explorando nuevos horizontes y dándonoslos a conocer. Trabajador incansable y excelente músico y fotógrafo. Mi reconocimiento y admiración. Un abrazo amigo Jois Martin, once again, excellent and hard work. You can with everything: Night photography, infrared, now timelapse. Always innovating, exploring new horizons and making them known. Tireless worker and excellent musician and photographer. My recognition and admiration. A hug friend Jois
Thank you very much Jois, I try to take advantage of the time, long ago I discovered that ... you only live once ... a big hug!

Muchas gracias Jois, procuro aprovechar el tiempo, hace tiempo descubrí que... solo se vive una vez... un fuerte abrazo!

From here, I would like to thank Yvette for the publication of this article and so many previous ones that she has dedicated to my work. Dear Yvette, always grateful for your generosity and "know-how" A big hug Yvette!
It's all my pleasure, dear Martin. Take care and hug back, my friend!!!
Excellent article. Impressive timelapses. I was lucky enough to accompany Martin Zalba for 15 days while he was doing the La Palma timelapse (at the same time I did my photographs). I was impressed by the dedication and effort that he put into his work .... I estimate that between 12 and 15 hours each day ... that together with the great musical composer that is result in these spectacular works. Besides being an excellent photographer and composer ... he is a great person always willing to teach everything he knows in an altruistic way. Congratulations Martin. Excelente artículo. Timelapses impresionantes. Tuve la suerte de acompañar a Martin Zalba durante 15 días mientras hacía el timelapse de La Palma (a la vez yo hacia mis forografias). Quede impresionado por la dedicación y esfuerzo que ponía en su trabajo.... calculo que entre 12 y 15 horas cada dia... eso unido al gran compositor musical que es dan como resultado estos trabajos espectaculares. Además de excelente fotografo y compositor... es una gran persona, siempre dispuesto a enseñar todo lo que sabe de manera altruista. Felicitaciones Martin.
I can't forget that the La Palma timelapse exists thanks to the help of my friend Jose Ignacio Gil Blanco, otherwise it would have been impossible. For that reason, that timelapse is dedicated to him.

There is nothing more beautiful in life than sharing with others what you have and what you know.

You always receive more than you give! I hope you like the works that I share here. It is my greatest wish!

No puedo olvidar que el timelapse de La Palma existe gracias a la ayuda de mi amigo Jose Ignacio Gil Blanco, de otra manera, habría sido imposible. Por esa razón, ese timelapse está dedicado a él.

No hay nada más hermoso en la vida, que compartir con los demás lo que se tiene y lo que se sabe.

Siempre se recibe más de lo que se da! Espero que os gusten los trabajos que aquí comparto. Es mi mayor deseo!

Congratulations Martin, beautiful work.
Thank you Izabella