2 Year Timelapse Photo Project from a Shanghai Apartment

What’s the longest you’ve ever shot for a project – a week? a month? How about 2 years? Photographer Joe Nafis has recently created a 3 1/2 minute video containing timelapses of Shanghai over the past 24 months. All the footage is taken from his apartment on the 23rd floor, yet it shows a great amount of detail about the city and its life. Through sunrises and sunsets, join the people of Shainghai as they wake up and fall asleep to the largest city in the world:

Tips and Tricks You Can Take Away From This Timelapse:

  • Never put the horizon in the center of the frame. Keep it 1/3rd land and 2/3rds sky or vice versa.
  • Take note of weather conditions: Clouds can add interestingness to your shots, but a partly cloudy day can also create an unwanted and unsightly swap back and forth between sunny and shady.
  • Don’t always focus on the big picture. Zoom in and focus on the little things too.
  • Vary the times of your timelapse. Sunrise, midday, evening, sunset, and nighttime can all add to your video.
  • Camera movements add drama and life to the video.
  • Music can also make your timelapse come to life.
shanghai timelapse 23rd floor apartment window

All photos were taken from Nafis’ 23rd floor apartment

The great thing about timelapse videos is you don’t need a lot of time to shoot them. Once you’ve got your camera set up and made sure there’s plenty of battery life, you can walk away for a few hours and let your camera do all the work.

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3 Comments

  1. Starr says:

    Wow! Love what you have done with time-lapse photography. It was very capativating. Great job!!!!

  2. Lance Ozier says:

    Loved the way the sun rose precisely in the gap between two buildings at 1:50 into the video.

  3. Barbara Tricarico says:

    Love your work, Joe. This was remarkable. You’ve captured so much in a short video. I especially loved your suit (static) against the hustle-bustle of life outside. I also loved the construction equipment munching away at the building. That’s what life is all about….Just “one day at a time” and so much is accomplished by humanity.

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