Washington D.C. Empty in this Adjusted Time-lapse Sequence

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In a continuation of the series we reported on a few weeks ago, Thrash Lab brings us a new time lapse video – this time of Washington D.C., with its roads and streets completely empty.

Adding this video to the list of others, including New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, the artists at Thrash Labs fly us through the US national capital: through landmarks and monuments, into the subways, and over the busiest freeways in the country – all without a trace of human life. The difficulty involved in the making of these videos is apparent to almost any viewer. After photographing standard time-lapse images of dozens of scenes throughout the city, the images for each are imported into Photoshop, where they are layered on top of one another, sometimes ten or twenty high.

Each photograph is studied for gaps in the roads and walkways, and the layers are painstakingly combined to form the empty streets out of those spaces between people and cars. The images are then taken into AfterEffects, where the street is laid over the video, as the rest of the time lapse moves on (skies, water, traffic lights, etc).  This technique is explained in better detail here.

time lapse photography

The result of all of this hard work is some truly astonishing imagery. To see one of the busiest cities in the world abandoned is bizarre and wonderful, giving us a unique opportunity to see these places as they exist on their own, without humans getting in the way of their glamour shot. Washington is even more fascinating, as its buildings are so magnificent.

Built mostly in Greco-Roman style architecture, some of these buildings have been standing since the country was born over two centuries ago. To see them in this way is to see them as we imagine they will be for centuries more, maybe millenia – monuments to American greatness that will be revered forever, our Colosseums  and our Parthenons, that will stand perhaps longer than the human race itself.

For Further Training on Time-lapse Photography:

Check out this new COMPLETE guide (146 pages) to shooting, processing and rendering time-lapses using a dslr camera. It can be found here: Time-lapse Photography Guide

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