Posts By Brad Moore

I’m originally from Slovenia but I’ve lived and worked in the United Arab Emirates since 1991.

My background is in architectural visualization and illustration. For almost 2 decades, I worked in the Emirates, one of the fastest growing countries in the world, and work was never scarce. I specialized in the creation of photo-realistic, computer generated renderings of master developments, buildings and interiors.


Examples of the 3D CG architectural visualization workflow, 2007

Somewhere around 2005, many real estate developers started to outsource architectural renderings and animations to companies in Asian countries where they managed to get about half the quality I was offering for about 1/10th of the price. Needless to say, getting new projects became hard. In 2008, the economy collapsed overnight. Real estate developments were suddenly frozen. Nobody dared to launch new projects and with that, the business of 3D walkthroughs and still renderings was declared dead.


A vision that never became more than a dream. 3D CG rendering, 2007

It was the time to react and adapt. In May 2008, I joined a VF/X and film production company in Abu Dhabi. This is where I got the chance to learn something new and to move away from the realm of 3D computer graphics.

I've had a life-long fascination with photography but for one reason or another, I never got into it. Life’s weird that way. One day, sometime back in 2009, I picked up a Canon PowerShot G9 camera and started dabbling with it. The initial results were pathetic, but I was motivated to try harder. So I enrolled myself in a 6-month, self-taught crash course in photography. I was like a sponge for information – I bought tons of books about photography, I studied the work of great masters and read all of them. I browsed thousands of photography websites, forums, blogs and watched pretty much every YouTube tutorial I could find. Whatever I learned in the books, I tried later with the camera. I shot thousands of pictures every month and shared the work on various forums. Slowly but steadily, my work got better and with improved results, my confidence grew.


One of my earlier works, captured with Canon PowerShot G9 in Slovenia, 2009

Meanwhile, I continued working on sporadic 3D computer generated animations for real estate developers when an opportunity arose. In 2009, I worked on one specific architectural visualization in which the client asked for a few beauty shots of the city as an introduction to the 3D animation of their proposed master development. I first thought of shooting them in a conventional video but then, for some reason, I recalled the incredible urban time lapses I saw years ago in Godfrey Reggio’s ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ and Ron Fricke’s ‘Baraka’. These two films left a lasting impression on me. In all honesty, I didn’t have the first clue about time lapses at the time. But there was something indescribably beautiful and magical about them, so I decided to give time lapse photography a shot.

Little did I know that I had just entered into an adventure of a lifetime.


Study of sunlight and how it changes the landscape, 2009

The Canon PowerShot G9 is a great little compact camera, as long as you’re not trying to do serious work with it. I did my 2-day research about time lapse photography online and I gathered the basics. I learned that I would need an electronic shutter release cable which can trigger the camera’s shutter in user defined intervals. So I bought a cheap Chinese intervalometer for 10 bucks. I picked up a flimsy tripod dating back to the early 80s and I was ready to go. At least I thought so.

My first time lapse attempts were, well…abysmal. No one told me that the autofocus should’ve been turned off while I was shooting the sequence. The camera was constantly trying to re-focus between each frame and at night, it missed the focus every other frame. It was a disaster.


Day to night time lapse of Abu Dhabi’s skyline, 2013

That wasn’t all. I was shooting in Aperture priority mode which was another time lapsing gaffe. The camera was changing shutter speed from frame to frame, and each time, the lighting conditions changed a bit. That caused a nasty strobing effect, commonly known as time lapse flicker. I also didn’t know that the White Balance and ISO should’ve been set to manual and that lead to inconsistent colors and grain. The camera should’ve been set in full manual mode but at the time, I did not know that.

With each failure, I learned something new. I kept trying and trying and by the end of the week, I had my first time lapse scene of Abu Dhabi’s skyline, the establishing shot my client had asked for. They were very impressed with the result and at that, it suddenly dawned on me that I had found my new passion. I was hooked at 110%.


‘Into the abyss’. Climbing the rooftops of Abu Dhabi, scouting for shooting locations, 2013

2 years later, in 2011, I got my hands on a Canon 5D Mark 2 and decided to create my first time lapse film. By that time, I knew the importance of a stable, solid tripod. Vibrations are a bad thing if you’re shooting time lapses. The longer the lens, the more pronounced the vibrations, especially in high wind. They can be stabilized in post-production but not entirely.

I learned that shorter intervals work better for faster moving subjects such as people and cars (1 to 3 seconds), and that longer intervals looked good on slow moving subjects, such as moving clouds and setting sun (5 to 15 seconds).

My first time lapse film, titled ‘ABU DHABI 2011’ was extremely well received and it encouraged me to stay the course and learn even more about the craft.

http://vimeo.com/23961607
Abu Dhabi 2011, my very first time lapse film and a passion project, 2011

At the end of 2011, I got calls from the BBC and Discovery to shoot time lapse material for their TV series, and this is where my hobby turned into a profession.
I started working with motion control gear which added dynamism and liberty to my time lapse sequences. My shots became more complex and choreographed. I felt like my time lapses suddenly got liberated from the chains of the static tripod.

At this point, I also found out about ‘shutter dragging’ – a term that describes motion blur in moving subjects which added fluidity to the scenes. ‘Shutter dragging’ is achieved by fitting your lenses with Neutral Density filters which reduce the amount of light reaching the camera’s sensor. I never shoot daytime time lapses scenes with anything less than a 6 to 8-stop ND filter. With experience, I came to know that the recommended shutter speed for daytime time lapse sequences is anything between 2s to 1/10th second. Shooting with high powered ND filters also helps to combat Shutter flicker (brightness strobing) which can occur if your shutter is triggering faster than 1/100th second.


‘While you were sleeping’, looking for new points of view in Abu Dhabi, 2013

As a Canon user, I learned how to deal with another adversary – Aperture flicker. Canon lenses have an electronically controlled diaphragm. It’s a great feature for shooting stills but awful for time lapses. Why? Say you set your lens to shoot at f/8. Each time you take a picture, the camera instructs the lens to contract the diaphragm to f/8.0 and wait in that position until the image is captured and then, to reset it to its original position. Trouble is, the diaphragm never truly returns to the same precise position. Instead of maintaining the precise diameter of f/8, it may go to f/7.98, or f/8.06. A slightly different diameter of the diaphragm during exposure will result in a slightly different exposure of each frame. If you play such a sequence in real time, it will flicker. It’s irritating to watch, it ruins your time lapse and is very hard to fix in post production.


Trying out new techniques, blending multiple times of the day into one frame, 2014

To avoid this problem, you have several options. You can choose to shoot with manual lenses which have a mechanical diaphragm. In some cases, I use Nikon G lenses with a Canon mount adapter. It’s a well-designed solution which works wonderfully. Another trick I learned is Lens Twisting. It involves untwisting your Canon lens partially while holding the Depth of Field preview. This locks the diaphragm into fixed position which effectively eliminates any possibility for Aperture flicker.

I also mastered advanced time lapse photography techniques, such as shooting flicker-free, day to night / night to day sequences using Bulb Ramping and Holy Grail methods. The first one requires you to shoot with a camera set to Bulb mode. A special device or a tethered laptop are then connected to the camera’s shutter trigger and USB ports which control the exposure time in extremely precise, progressive or regressive lengths, down to the millisecond. The result of the Bulb Ramping technique is completely flicker free time lapses during major light transitions. Bulb Ramping is a bit tricky to set up, but the result is a flawless, flicker-free time lapse sequences.

The ‘Holy Grail’ method requires a de-flickering process with specialized software tools. If used correctly, the Holy Grail method produces flicker-free results for day to night time lapses. I use it regularly and it works very well.


Looking for something new in Oman, 2014

As of recently, I also started working with a ‘hyperlapse’ technique – a method in which the camera is moved over great distances between each exposure. This method is currently trending in the time lapsing community and some have made it an art form of its own.

I’ve only began to explore the vastness of this amazing craft. Unlike older and more established forms of photography, time lapse photography exists on the fringes of the constantly evolving science and art. Digital cameras and motion control technology are becoming more sophisticated with each passing day, while being more accessible and affordable.

So why do I like time lapse photography so much? Because it always manages to surprise me. We are so hard wired to perceive the world around us at a certain pace. Twist this perception a bit by speeding it up and you’ll be dazzled at how amazing rush hour traffic will look. Or the play of shadows cast by the buildings as they dance across the city. Or the hide and seek play of the sun between the clouds as it plunges towards the horizon. Time lapse photography reveals that there’s magic in the mundane greyness of life; it has the power to enchant and inspire. You just have to look at it with different eyes.


Scouting locations from the helicopter in Abu Dhabi, 2013

That being said, time lapsing may not be for everyone. It takes a particular kind of person to get up at 4am in arctic weather and wait for the sunrise, or spend the whole day in the blistering heat next to the camera to make sure the exposure is set just right. It takes patience and dedication. You need to be able to see ahead of time, predict the pitfalls before they arise, while many elements are working against you.

If you’re still curious about this wonderful art form, I’ve good news for you; you are living in the most exciting time in history of photography to get into it. What are you still waiting for?

http://vimeo.com/91702619

To see more of Beno’s work, connect with him on VimeoFacebook, Google+, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram or 500px.

Photoshop for Lightroom Users eBook – $12.99
Have you been on the fence about picking up Scott’s latest book, Photoshop for Lightroom Users? Now’s the time to grab it! It’s this week’s Peachpit eBook Deal of the Week, and it can be yours for just $12.99! It’s on sale until Saturday, so get it before it’s too late. And leave a comment for your chance to win a free copy of the eBook!

Picture Perfect Beach Portraits with Tamara Lackey
Join Tamara Lackey on the beach in her latest KelbyOne class, Picture Perfect Beach Portraits, to learn how to create dynamic family portraits in a variety of situations. The beach environment, while beautiful, can present a range of challenges; from harsh light to blowing sand, that can easily take a toll on your subjects, your gear, and yourself. In this class, you'll learn how to work with families, small children, and couples in ways that make the most of wonderful photography situations. Tamara Lackey will give you tips to help keep your subjects engaged and your gear safe so you can get the perfect shots!

KelbyOne Live
Want to spend a day with Scott Kelby, RC Concepcion, or Ben Willmore? Check out these seminar tours!

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
May 13 - Portland, OR

Photoshop for Photographers with RC Concepcion
May 2 – Denver, CO
May 20 - Hartford, CT

Photoshop Creativity with Ben Willmore
May 7 - Philadelphia, PA
May 9 - South San Francisco, CA
May 28 - Sacramento, CA

You can check out the full schedule for seminars through May! And leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Exposure: From Snapshots to Great Shots, 2nd Edition
Friend of the blog and Photo Walk Pro guy Jeff Revell has updated his book, Exposure: From Snapshots to Great Shots, and it’s available now! If you’re new to photography and trying to wrap your head around how your camera sees light, this book is for you. You can even check out a chapter of the book for free! Jeff also did an interview with Peachpit where he answers questions about his favorite camera, favorite picture, how he got started in photography, and more.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free copy of Jeff’s new book!

Last Week’s Winners
KelbyOne Live Ticket
-Ed Adams

Shoot at Old Car City with Bill Fortney
-David in Signal Mountain

Moose Peterson Class
-Pedro Oliveira

If you’re one of the lucky winners, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

In many of my workshops, photography career articles, and classes, I'll often share with my students the one amazing tool that will revolutionize their work, help attract new clients, and keep their spirits positive all at once. It's personal work. Sure, maybe you've heard this before, but maybe you haven't heard the true significance of why doing ongoing personal photoshoots are so important for you. For me, doing this has made my entire career.

The past year has thankfully been very good business-wise (I'm a commercial photographer and video producer), but as we all know, we don't always get to shoot the projects we find most exciting or fulfilling. I've always relied on my personal projects to keep me excited and my work looking fresh. Every time I have shot something for myself/portfolio it has always yielded something positive. Whether directly leading to new jobs, or maybe personal fulfillment with charity-related projects, or maybe something that allows me to fulfill a childhood dream, personal work has never steered me wrong.

I’ve been talking about my shoots as a contributing writer to Fstoppers recently. In this guest post I wanted to share some of what I’ve been working on the past year here on Scott’s blog, and if you’re interested in finding out more about any one of these shoots, I’ve provided links to in-depth articles for each one so I don’t take up too much of your time here.

Below are a few examples from the past year or so of things I have worked on in my free time or projects that happened because of personal work that I hope you will enjoy!

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http://youtu.be/N3qiRfbD4tc

We don’t want to try to convince you that you should come to Photoshop World, really. Just listen to these people who have attended the conference and they’ll tell you why they’ve come back to Photoshop World time and time again. Whether it’s the one-on-one time they get with instructors, networking with other creatives, or learning the latest skills in the creative field, there’s more than one reason that they love it!

http://youtu.be/GRTBTap1Pjw

http://youtu.be/t28izG8QBDg

http://youtu.be/Aol77J4tQJQ

http://youtu.be/Ih5CUznkTTk

Hey everyone, Brad Moore here with some more photos from the second day of Photoshop World Atlanta! Most of these are from the crazy Midnight Madness event, as well as some highlights from the classes and expo floor. Enjoy!

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