It Started Out As A Nice Day…

It was a pleasant afternoon yesterday at the salt marsh so I decided to set up a time lapse to run while I was watching and photographing the various birds that were out enjoying their day. The black skimmer photos from my previous post were taken while the time lapse was running. Notice in the time lapse video how you can see the tide coming in and gradually covering over the oyster beds and filling in the marsh. In the beginning you can also see some wood storks and egrets fishing in the lower right corner.

The white fluffy clouds began to thicken and get darker and I knew a storm was moving in. You can see the darker clouds come in from the left side of the time lapse. The storm was coming from the southwest and the time lapse was pointed north toward the salt marsh. When I started to hear the thunder and saw some lightning I turned around and saw this shelf cloud rapidly move in and practically roll right over my head. At this point I stopped the time lapse and went to quickly grab a few shots of the shelf cloud before the sky opened up on me. The first photo was taken with a regular wide angle lens and the second one was taken with the 8mm fisheye.

The 42 second time lapse video was made using just over 1,000 photos, one taken every five seconds for a bit less then an hour and a half and processed at 24fps. I wish I could have let the time lapse go on longer but with the lightning and coming heavy rain I really had to get out of there! 

Storm Clouds in Murrells Inlet

Storm Clouds in Murrells Inlet

58 thoughts on “It Started Out As A Nice Day…

  1. Fascinating pictures, Phil! A sense of foreboding, watching the cloud coming in. A great view of your salt marsh, as well!

      • That little white arrow in the lower left corner should get it to play but I see you got it. I wish I could have let the TL run longer but I really did have to leave the area and quickly!
        I thought that shelf cloud rolling in looked positively apocalyptic.

  2. Great job, Phil. Most impressive, Phil. I really enjoyed watching those clouds from the comfort of my home. It must have been quite surreal being out there as it was happening.

    • Thanks very much Sylvia and yes it was an almost surreal experience especially when that huge shelf cloud started moving right toward and over us. As you might expect my wife and I were the only ones (nuts) still out there when this baby came rolling in! 😯 😀

    • Thanks much glad you liked these. I got rained on, thundered on, and lightninged on. Well luckily I did not actually get hit with lightning. There was a terrified little gator nearby that I felt sorry for and almost scooped him up and took him home. Jack would love that.

    • I’m happy you enjoyed seeing these photos and TL video, it was an experience for sure.
      Good to get rain, I could live with it not raining on me so much but then again I was the one that voluntarily stayed out there. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the video. Love seeing the movements of the birds over time. Good stuff! Those clouds looked pretty ominous, too…you get some big thunderstorms once they rolled in?

    • Thanks very much for checking these out and glad you liked the photos and TL vid!
      We do get some pretty good T storms and it’s especially amazing when a huge shelf cloud like this comes out from the west and rolls in over the ocean. This location is right at the beach and the offshore wind had been blowing the clouds west all day until it all changed when this moved in.

  4. The time lapse is brilliant. I have bought an interval timer but haven’t used it yet as I’m not sure what software I need to create the video. The storks are like ants. These conditions can be scary but they frequently offer fantastic light for photography. Excellent work, Phil.

    • Thanks Andrew, glad you liked the photos and TL vid! If you look at the first photo, you can see some little white dots along the shoreline visible in the lower right corner, those were four wood storks.
      I use an interval timer and do a batch adjust and resize in photoshop (but you don’t have to do tha) before processing the final video using Quick Time Pro.

  5. Very, very cool! When I watched the video before reading your test, I assumed it covered a much longer span of time. That really shows how fast a front can move.

    • Yes one thing I have learned from doing TL videos is that even when the clouds appear to be mostly just hanging in one place they are actually moving and often faster then you might think.
      Glad you liked these!

  6. Wow, that time lapse is awesome! It’s amazing how those ominous and dramatic clouds seem to just roll in suddenly from nowhere.
    Now, you’ve got me wanting to learn how to do time lapse video. I’ve never done one.

    • I’m glad you liked that TL video, as soon as I tried one I got hooked. I don’t do them often and sometimes you never know how it will look later once you start it but they sure are fun to make and look at!
      I’m sure you would enjoy making one!

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