Usually, when we put a time-lapse video here on PopPhoto, it's something shot winth an incredible rig, tracking the motion of the stars across the sky. But this video proves that you don't need a 4k rig, rails, or anything else super fancy to catpure a dramatic time-lapse. All you need is a tripod, a camera capable of doing the work, and then time.
Photographer Samuel Orr spent two years from 2006-2008 in Bloomington, IN, shooting documentaries for PBS, and staying in a small house near a nature preserve. And while his main gear was tied up with that, he left an old Nikon point-and-shoot aimed outside of his window, capturing the dramatic changes of the seasons.
So in the end, I used a spare Nikon coolpix 5400, which even in 2006 was obsolete. The data port was broken, so it was tricky getting the memory card out to download images (there are noticeable little moves in the framing in the film itself because of introduced error – the monitor was the size of a postage stamp), but in the end the camera sat on the same unmoving tripod for 16 months. I automatically snapped pictures at intervals between every 10 seconds and every 10 minutes at key times of the year (snowfall, spring, fall colors), usually the camera was switched off. Looking back, I wish I had used a better camera as the image quality leaves something to be desired. But it worked, amazingly. Over 40,000 images were taken, and I made little movies of 5-8 seconds for each of the key days/events/seasons, and blended them together into the finished film at 30 frames a second.
There was a period when most Nikon point-and-shoots came with some variety of time-lapse control built in, but it's a less and less common feature on small cameras. If you have a Canon, you can always use CHDK to hack time-lapse into an old PowerShot you have floating around. Then you just have to be willing to spend the hours splicing together the footage as seamlessly as Orr did.
Orr's currently fundraising for his further adventures in time-lapse photography with a year long time-lapse of New York City.