Time-Lapsing: Tobago Cays

Here’s goes on another Time-Lapsing post. This time it’s from Tobago Cays in St. Vincent & The Grenadines. 

Tobago Cays is a beautiful collection of tiny islands south of mainland St. Vincent, and is a protected marine park. there is very little light pollution in the area, only that coming from boats moored/anchored in the area, which makes it the perfect place for stargazing and Long Exposure photography. I wanted to take the Long Exposure photography to the next level by doing 2 Long Exposure Time-Lapses.

BBQ Under The Stars - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 08/05/2016

BBQ Under The Stars - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 08/05/2016

The first time-lapse I did was looking down from one end of the beach to the other. There was a BBQ happening on the beach that night but the candle light had no effect on the visibility of the stars, and just added another interest into the frame other than the stars. I did a couple of test shots to get my setting right and settled on ISO1600 at f3.5 with a 6 second exposure. These settings brought out enough of the stars without over exposing the candle light from the BBQ. As the BBQ started to end and people started to leave I got some really interesting images of people dragging their dinghy back into the water off the beach. Luckily I didn’t need to adjust my settings when this was happening.

Dinghy Out - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 08/05/2016

Dinghy Out - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 08/05/2016

I set my intervalometer to take a 6 second exposure every 10 seconds and left it running for 2 hours. This gave me 448 images to work with, resulting is an 18 second time-lapse which you can see below and on my Instagram.

Because I started time-lapsing at around 8PM, the first one was finished just after 10PM, so I decided while I was on the beach in the perfect environment, I would do another one. This time my main subject would be the trees in the centre of the island I was on, with the stars above them. Again I did a couple of test shots to get my settings right, looking back on it now I should have tested more as my settings weren’t quite right. The settings I decided on were ISO2500 at f3.5 with an 11 second exposure. I should have used a lower ISO, probably 1600, and a longer exposure, 15 seconds maybe, to clean up the image of noise slightly and bring out the stars and trees more.

Only Stars - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 08/05/2016

Only Stars - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 08/05/2016

 

By this time I was nearly alone on the beach, there was just one more dinghy sat on the sand which meant one more group of people left after the BBQ ended. All throughout this time-lapse I was keeping an eye on the current in the water as the wind was picking up which meant so was the current. I decided the cut this one short at 1 hour because of the current picking up and the fact I didn’t want to get taken away an end up on another island.

Glowing Trees - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 08/05/2016

Glowing Trees - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 08/05/2016

 

About half way through this time-lapse the final group of people left the beach, on their way however they decide to shine all 10 of their torches in my direction and the direction on the trees to see what I was doing. At the time I thought they had ruined a couple of images, but when I got the images into Lightroom I found it was only 1 image that was effected and it wasn’t ruined. Their torches had actually lit up the trees with amazing results! I wish I had done this myself with a lamp to bring out the trees in the foreground and made it a far better image.

After 1 hour I came away with 150 images to work with, resulting in a 6 second time-lapse which you can see below and on my Instagram as well.

 

I had planned on doing 2 more the following night but when it came to it there was far too much cloud to see the stars so would have just been a time-lapse filled with moving clouds, which isn’t always bad but not when you have the option to see stars moving instead.

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Thanks for reading!

Rob