It Took 17,000 Photos to Make This Time-lapse Video

screenshot from jess dunlap's time-lapse video
Included in this video are some photos from Lake Tahoe, June Lake, Simi Valley, Yosemite, Convict Lake, Owens Valley and Mono Lake.

I’ve come across so many new time-lapse videos lately, but only a select few have really stunned me into silence. This is one of them.

Monolation is a time-lapse video created by Jess Dunlap. She is the director and photographer who, with thousands of photos, was able to come up with such a beautiful and awe-inspiring video. I’ve only just begun experimenting with time-lapses, so seeing this video from a beginner’s perspective is quite a treat.

If you’re wondering how many shots it took to compose such a video, the answer is 17, 000.

She spent all of 2012 working on this video, but all it came down to was 4 minutes. That’s the part I hate most about time-lapses—they can be so tedious. Fortunately, there are people like Dunlap who are kind enough to share their masterpieces with the world.

She used both a Sigma 10-20mm and a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 to capture these landscapes. I think the camera movements were very smooth and flawless, which made the whole video all the more enjoyable to watch. When executed correctly, time-lapse videos can have such a strong impact on the viewer so it’s refreshing to come across someone who really knows what she is doing. It can be disappointing when the location is absolutely stunning, but the camera movements do not deliver. That definitely wasn’t the case here.

If you’re wondering how she achieved such wonderful angles, here are a few behind-the-scene shots of her rig:

photo of jess dunlap's setup

photo of jess dunlap's setup

If you’re looking for a good time-lapse video to use as an example, this is definitely one worth sharing with others. I don’t think it would be out of place next to some of the videos shown on BBC or National Geographic.

Dunlap’s list of past clients includes the MGM Grand, Ray-Ban, Nike and Cover Girl. See the rest of her portfolio here. Or you can also reach out to her through Twitter or Instagram.

She doesn’t specify exactly what rig she used, so feel free to make a guess in the comments below!

Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.