Meet Ben Canales, Timelapse Wizard

Ben Canales, award-winning photographer, and member of the Uncage the Soul production team that joined us on the river last fall reflects on the challenges and the landscapes that inspired the hours he spent not sleeping, but instead capturing gorgeous timelapse footage alongside the Green & Colorado rivers.

Tasked to shoot timelapse on our Green and Colorado River trip was a thoroughly enjoyable and challenging new experience. With limited resources of time to download media cards and opportunities to charge batteries, I had to be selective of the moments to shoot a multi-hour and 20-60 sized gigabyte timelapse sequence. It was important to learn the natural forecasting signs in the weather patterns and gauge the potential “worth” of shooting a particular moment and location. Would these afternoon clouds hold and provide a reflection for sunset colors? If the river is oriented 187 degrees South, what was the chance the Moon would rise in the canyon? And if so, when in the night might it clear the steep canyon walls, and where? Would it be better to timelapse this camp location at sunset or sunrise? Should I setup down by the river or take the time (and risk missing the sunset) to hike up on the higher rocks for a view up high?

Although these questions were important and there were plenty more to fret over–ultimately–what I remember most is the joy of getting lost in the river’s world. By that, I mean… it’s wonderful to be so connected to the immediate things that you can sincerely forget what day in the week it is. My world became sunrises and sunsets, star rotational directions and moon paths, cloud patterns and which direction would the shadows dance on the canyon walls. Many nights I was brewing a pot of coffee to get ready to go shoot night timelapses while everyone else was settling to sleep. I loved the novelty of quietly tiptoeing through camp to setup my gear at 2am to the sounds of snoring. Even exhausted and slightly cranky, there’s a unique contentment to have stayed up all night shooting stars and into the sunset and then be able to welcome my friends to a new day as they groggily came out of their tents. I look back on these memories with immense fondness. 

– Ben Canales

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