Above L.A. Timelapse: A New Perspective on a Big City

The importance of finding new perspectives in life applies directly to the school of photography. Another viewpoint can lead to newfound meaning and understanding. It may also lead to outstanding and original visuals. Chris Pritchard searched high—and higher again—for interesting and never-before-captured views above the city of Los Angeles. The result of his determination to show off the City of Angels in a new light? A visually stunning and well edited timelapse above the ‘hustle and grind’ of LA:

The piece is what one would call “a labor of love.” Over the course of two years, whenever Pritchard had any spare time, he would roam around the LA area searching for exciting new vantage points. His pursuit took him on long drives, mountain hikes, and elevator rides to the top of high rises. The predictably sunny and clear skies of LA had Pritchard waiting to drop everything at a hint of more interesting weather to come.

chris pritchard above la time lapse

Creating a timelapse piece means even more meticulous planning and patience. Some of Pritchard’s shots took two minutes to capture, while others took over two hours. And as with all photography, trial and error played a huge part in getting the perfect footage.


The city street subject matter was captured from all angles.


Pritchard used a dolly to capture movement in the sky over a long period of time.

“My best tip for timelapse is to know your subject! Are you shooting cloud movement, traffic, people, shadows, day to night? All have different optimal intervals and it’s very important to get your timing and exposure just right to create the perfect flow and movement.”

Pritchard also suggests collecting more footage than is needed. Shoot more and keep the camera rolling; it’s capable of catching things the human eye may miss.


Pritchard preparing a mountain top night shot of LA

“Since there is no instant gratification with timelapse shooting, you may be capturing things you didn’t anticipate, and a little extra footage may go a long way toward making the shot special.”

In the end, he collected over 300 clips for the film, with only about 50 making the final cut. But for Pritchard, the visual result and the experience were well worth the innumerable hours of effort.

los angeles timelapse photography

chris pritchard timelapse los angeles

“Once you get above [LA], even slightly, the views and sounds begin to change dramatically. Experiencing this vast and grand city from above lends a new and different appreciation for it. Listening to wildlife in the mountains or hearing nothing but birds and crickets from the top of a high-rise while the city hustles and grinds below makes for a surreal experience.”

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One response to “Above L.A. Timelapse: A New Perspective on a Big City”

  1. LM says:

    The photos shown are overdone.
    Be careful wit post processing it is not always successful.

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