Time-Lapse Sequences Turned into Timestacks

matt molloy time-lapse photography timestacks

As a resident from Lake Ontario east of Toronto, Matt Molloy is no stranger to the dazzling sunsets and beautiful cloud formations common to the area, and he has been taking photographs of this daily treat for over three years now. Like any curious photographer out to create a unique visual, Molloy began using time-lapse photography as an experiment. Using hundreds of images of either a sunset, or of shifting clouds, he digitally stacked many photos together to create changes in shape and hues that resemble work emanating from a painter, rather than a photographer. The effect is very much in the impressionist style from the 19th century.

matt molloy timestack

The skies are smeared with streaks resembling brush strokes from the hands of an artist, and of various hues from red to fiery orange in differing intensities. Most of these almost abstract shapes and diverse colors are set against distinct, clear landscapes on the ground which leads one to hesitate a distinction of whether it is a photograph or painting you are viewing. Molloy calls this series Timestacks.

stacked photos of sky

“…I call the images made with this technique “timestacks.” To make them, I use a time-lapse sequence as my source. Timestacks are really a distillation of a video into a single picture. The movements of clouds often look like brushstrokes and give the image a painterly feel. It gives you a different perspective of time and a unique sense of motion.

I usually set up time-lapse shoots with the intention of producing a video as the end result. Timestacks are a nice opportunity resulting from the time-lapse sources with the right subject and settings….

…The interval between shots can change the look of the final image quite a bit. The shorter the interval between shots, the smoother the movements will look. I usually shoot in the range of 3 to 6 seconds during the day. I load my photos onto the computer and open the first one in Photoshop, making adjustments for color and contrast while recording my actions so I can apply them to all the photos. I highly recommend using an automated process for this, as it will save you time, but mainly a lot of tedious work.”

timestacks windmills

stacked photos of sky

timestacks photos of sky and barn

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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.