Time lapses

I just finished watching the award-winning BBC Series Life. Among the many dramatic sequences were some filmed using time-lapse videography. In particular I was intrigued by images of invertebrates moving across the floor of the Beaufort Sea and of woodland plants growing in the English countryside. Animals such as starfish, snails, and organisms called nemerteans, move slowly but not so slowly that their activities cannot be detected by those with patience. However, as you know, plants move so slowly that their actions cannot be detected in real-time. [There are exceptions of course such as explosive dehiscence of the sort seen in Impatiens or the seemingly muscular contraction of carnivorous plants such as the Venus Fly Trap.] The time-lapse sequence of the woodland plants shows Narcissus, Foxglove, and brambles all moving in what appears to be real-time … dancing, strolling, pirouetting, and even running. The effects are amazing. I mention this because looking at the image below makes me think of what I would see if I could make time move more quickly. I could watch the Virginia Creeper scaling the wall of this neglected structure as leaves move over a field when transported by a stiff and unrelenting breeze. Perhaps, if their pace were somewhat more leisurely, the plants would move chaotically; they would swirl, eddy, and perhaps retreat under the influence of invisible forces. The building too moves at a plant-like pace and under the incessant pull of entropy, toward ground state. I am glad I am only able to view this particular process in real-time and that I cannot watch it sigh, sag, and degrade before my eyes. The stately pace with which it moves is quite fast enough – thank you.

7 thoughts on “Time lapses

  1. Love the vines – when I was in VA earlier this fall, I had the pleasure of driving back and forth past an old depot that was overrun with kudzu in and out of the building. It was so cool to see it growing on the inside, looking for places to come out of the windows, growing on the outside, trying to get in! This photo made me think of that … vine covered buildings are precious. Have not seen “Life” but will add it to my list. Fantastic!

  2. It has been said that life is made up of moments, and a moment in time is all you needed to capture this pretty picture.

  3. The colors in that image are amazing. The malachite green of the windows has been a rare but favorite shade out of the dye pots.

  4. I have given some thought to doing a time lapse on frost flowers, which would just be over night. The effect is that of cheating time. But things are going fast enough for me now.

    • That would be terrific. How could you anticipate which flower would form one? Can you tell, ahead of time, when and where they will form? Also … what part of the country are you in? I’ve never, ever, seen one of these things and figure that their formation is very much dependent upon where you are. I really like the images you’ve posted of them and toured the internet a bit to see what I could find out about them. D

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