The hiker’s timelapse; or, three simple steps to be way cooler than all your photographer friends

I’ve been on a time-lapse kick lately.  I am also easily bored, so sitting still for hours and hours while the camera does it’s thing is basically impossible. For you, this can be both good and bad: on one hand, all this time is where I think up ideas like putting Donald Trump hair on animals using MS paint; on the other, time sitting still is time I’m not hiking.

Regardless, while I was on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon last week, I couldn’t resist the time-lapse itch.

Baby Jack even helped.

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But in the moments where Baby Jack wasn’t trying to assure his only-child status by repeatedly kicking me in the junk, I was bored. Then, the solution dawned on me, as obvious as a marmot who’s spent too much time on Tinder:
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Switch-backs. See, the first prerequisite of a time lapse is sitting still. I can’t do that, but switch-backs ensure this by making sure you see the same view over and over again. The second key to a time lapse is a dramatic change in the image (think dawn, sunset, etc.). This usually takes a lot of time. However, if you are rocking a dad-bod like mine switch-backs will slow you down enough to allow for TONS of time to pass. Therefore, if you hike up a set of switch-backs at a reasonable pace, taking pictures along the way you should get something kinda like a time lapse. In this way the worst part about hiking the Grand Canyon, switch-backs, could be it’s salvation.

Don’t believe me? Keep reading my simple three step guide to being way cooler than all your photographer friends.


STEP 1: Hike in at night

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STEP 2: Start hiking out

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STEP 3: At dawn, take pictures at the top of every switchback

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BONUS: Get a breakfast beer and put your feet up_DSC6911


Disclaimer: This post, and all posts on LesserPlaces, may contain affiliate links– links that allow me to receive a small kickback at no additional cost to you when you shop through them. This is how we keep the lights on. 



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Max Wilson is a graduate student studying ecology at Arizona State University. You can follow him on twitter @maxomillions.

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