Night Day "Holy Grail" Sunrise Sunset Time Lapse - How to get it right


"Holy Grail" night to day sunrise sunset time lapse are notoriously hard to get right especially with the transitions in the light.  Planning and preparation are important as well as hardware and software you use. 

This blog goes over a few different techniques as well as software and hardware options on getting day to night sunrise/sunset time lapse right.

First of all you need to find the perfect location.

Google "sunset/sunrise in..." your shooting location.  3 apps will help to compose your shot:

  1. The Sun Surveyor app (free) is a great little app to know exactly where the Sun and/or Moon will set or rise in augmented reality in your location and also includes a Google street view mode to compose shots.
  2. Another one to check out is the ever so popular for Moon, Sun and Milky Way with time lapse parametres available for Apple and now Android (£10/$10).
  3. Photographer’s Ephemeris 3D ($20) looks like a very good new 3D version of the app (currently only available on the iPhone) that let's you see how the sunlight forms over landscapes in 3D without having to be there.

Next you need to find the best or most convenient way to shoot the time lapse.

The following are different techniques used to achieve sunrise sunset (or Vice versa) time lapses with varying levels of exposure. 

1. Aperture Priority (AV setting) - the aperture will be locked and the shutter will change automatically.

This does cause flickering but you can use the Lens Twist method by Dustin Farrell

Or you can de-flicker in post-production with GB Time Lapse (£60)


2. Bulb Ramping (internal or external software to increase or decrease shutter speed to compensate for changes in light).  Most are manual bulb ramping devices so you will have to know what exposure is required at specific times and when the light is going to change ie. what time the sunrises or sets.

1. Magic Lantern (FREE, but only compatible with Canon DSLRs) - for automatic bulb ramping mode setup click here

3. Promo Systems Controller (£250/$329)

4. Timelapse+ (£290/$385)

5. Miops Dongle US store ($37) - UK Amazon link (£31)


3. Blending (a.k.a. cheating:)

Shoot two time lapses or more and then blend in post-production with a transition like a cross dissolve.


This is a cut down version of Preston Kanaks blog - click here to view

Our NEW Silent Motor Ping Pong Automated 2 Axis Camera Sliders with Shoot-Move-Shoot mode, perfect for night time lapse tracking shots -

.Digislider Team
.Digislider Team


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