In time-lapse photography, a series of frames of the same scene or subject matter are captured to depict a state of change or fluctuation. The final result is a collection of shots that can be played back like a short video that shows the object or subject being affected by the passage of time.
Popular subject matter includes things like the motion of the sun, stars, moon, and other celestial bodies in the sky, the growth of a plant, the decay of a piece of food, the evolution of a big project like a new building, or people and traffic moving around in a city.
Time-lapses use a formula to achieve their distinct moving quality. Perceived speed of the subject matter equals the projection’s frame rate, divided by the camera’s frame rate, multiplied by the actual speed of the scene taking place (math!). Recorded shots will vary in how quickly they appear to move, based on this calculation. Time-lapse photography also uses short and long exposure times, in addition to modifying the speed of the camera, to control the amount of motion blur present in the frames. Combining this technique with others such as high-dynamic-range (HDR) imaging and day-to-night transitions can produce stunning imagery.