This should be an eye-opener for timelapse photographers. In the middle of filming a breathtaking timelapse of the August 2012 Perseids meteor shower for his project, “Helvetia by Night”, Swiss photographer Alessandro Della Bella has one of his three cameras stolen, in plain view of the other two. To make matters worse for the thief, he didn’t even shut it off when he stole it, leaving it to continue photographing his escape. Della Bella was lucky that this wasn’t a particularly discreet criminal, and that the police caught him and returned the camera. He’s just as fortunate to have gotten a really remarkable film out of the ordeal.
This video is a great reminder of so many things for us photographers. Aside from the magnificence of the intended part, the time-lapse of the meteor shower, the special interest of this piece is given by what sets all great photographs apart: the unexpected. You can spend hours setting up a shot, weeks planning a project, but in the end, the magic of any photograph is in that which cannot be planned. Occasionally, our best efforts are even met with complete ruin; at these times, we can either throw our hands up and accept defeat, or we can commit ourselves to salvaging the beauty that disaster bears.
Watching it from a more concrete point of view, though, the video also makes one glaring point – Never leave your equipment unattended, no matter how remote your location seems. If such activity is unavoidable, as it was for Della Bella, wanting to get three distinct angles on the meteor shower, then you should seriously consider investing in camera-securing and locking equipment. Unfortunately, we can’t all have such luck as this.
There is a new guide (146 pages) on how to photograph, process and render time-lapses. It can be found here (currently 20% off using the discount code holidaylapse): Time-lapse Photography Guide