Austin might be best known as the Live Music Capitol of the World, but keep in mind that our creative-minded community also supports a vibrant art scene.
Boasting hundreds of art spaces and talented resident artists and an annual Studio Tour that attracts solid crowds every year, East Austin is killing it. Central Austin contains more wall murals and sculptures than we can count thanks to local business savvy and the city’s Art in Public Places program. South Austin yards and vehicles tend to be flamboyantly ornamental and North Austin has some amazing installations too.
We’ve built a massive three-story public graffiti park called HOPE Outdoor Gallery. One of our local billboard companies runs an annual competition called Austin Art Boards, displaying ten winners on signage throughout town all year long. We get seriously upset when people mess with street pieces we’ve fallen in love with and we love discovering new artists who make it their mission to capture the beauty of Austin.
Enter Ryan Light, an independent filmmaker and photographer who’s racking up followers with his stunning Austin time lapse videos of iconic sites — and of course, sunsets — around ATX.
Light purchased his first camera in 2005 and began practicing the craft by documenting his friends’ wakeboarding adventures on Lake Austin. By 2016, he was waking up every morning to shoot the sunrise and rushing to a vantage point to catch the sunset every evening after work.
“My interest in filming slowly progressed from there into a full-fledged addiction to the craft,” Light said, adding that when he discovered time lapse photography, he was immediately hooked. “It exposes a hidden world not seen by the naked eye. Shooting long exposures or shooting a scene for multiple hours reveals subtle details that, by nature, evolve too slowly to be noticeable in real time.”
Time lapse photography is a practice that requires the photographer to take a series of images at timed intervals and then blend them into a sequence to show the change in the scene over time. For Light, Austin is the perfect subject.
“It encompasses so many beautiful places and an ever evolving skyline,” said Light, who relocated from Abilene and has since fallen in love with Austin’s many greenbelts and waterfalls. “In the 23 years I’ve been living here, I continue to discover new places and things I’ve never seen. It’s hard not to find something beautiful in this city!”
Throughout his career, Light has shot for Breitling, ESPN, Fox Sports, CNN, Discovery Channel and National Geographic. Locally, Light works full-time for HeliVideo Productions, a local drone company who produces aerial video for television shows like Animal Planet’s “Tree House Masters” and TBS’ “Wrecked,” among other clients.
Based on his extensive experience, we’re thrilled that Light was willing to share a few valuable tips aimed at helping aspiring time lapse photographers build knowledge and experience. Feast your eyes, noobs:
- Shoot daily, as practice makes perfect.
- Always be on the lookout for perfect angles and weather conditions.
- Invest in quality equipment. Light uses a full frame Canon DSLR camera and intervalometer, as well as Cinetics MOCO (an Austin brand) and the Sun Surveyor mobile app.
- Keep your gear prepped and batteries charged so that you can be ready to shoot anytime.
- Don’t give up, even if you make a mistake!
All story photos courtesy of Ryan Light Films.