Little Nordics Timelapse Captures Life in Miniature

Dutch photographer Martijn Doolaard wanted to make a timelapse of Iceland and Norway that showed the beautiful remote landscapes, but didn’t just get lost in the sea of other timelapses doing the same thing. So he came up with an incredibly creative idea. An incredibly creative, cute, and downright enjoyable video called The Little Nordics – Life in Miniature. Using a tilt-shift effect, Doolaard managed to make everything look tiny and toyish—huge fjords are now miniature model landscapes, cars make their ways up windy mountain roads like Hot Wheels, massive ferries speed through the water like bathtub toys, and the people look like tiny figurines:

The Little Nordics captures the hustle and bustle of life in cities like Geiranger, Atlanterhavsveien and Trollstigen and the laid back meanderings of vacationers visiting beautiful natural spaces. Doolaard spent two summers traveling around Iceland and Norway with his brother to capture the images for this really fun and playful little timelapse.

miniature nordic city photo

“When you’re in the mountains, looking down, you see so many things happening. Especially in places like Geiranger (Norway) where ferries are sailing back and forth through the fjords, kayak cruises arriving and departing and cars crawling up and down the steep roads. I wanted to portray this like you are watching an ants hill, which gives such a funny perspective on things.”

timelapse tilt shift effect

To achieve the miniature visual effect, Doolaard used tilt-shift photography techniques. He sped up the clips to four times the speed and added depth of field with keyframed depth pass and lens blur in post production.

Most footage in Norway was shot on a Canon 7D with the 50mm f/1.8. The interval is one image per second with an intervalometer. For the Iceland images, Doolaard mostly stuck with a Panasonic GH3 with continuous shutter, and Voightländer 25mm f/0.95 or Lumix 35-100. He also used a Canon 650D.

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