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Felipe Pitta Interview

We talk to Felipe Pitta, who's created a stunning time lapse video of the Aurora Borealis.

| Professional Interviewed

A Night At The Fjord Of Light from Felipe Pitta on Vimeo

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Felipe Pitta, I'm a travel photographer from Santos, Brazil, and since 2010 I've been based in Dublin, Ireland. Over the last few years I've started traveling around the world capturing landscapes, cultures and history with my camera. Through my blog I am now able to share my work, travel stories and how I see the world with a bigger audience, always hoping people enjoy my work and to come back to see more.

How did you get into photography?
Photography appeared very early to me. I used to say that I started photographing because I don't know how to draw, which is true, but it's also a combination of things. The emotional reaction that traveling to a new place gives you, to experience new cultures, behaviours and languages. Photography allows me to capture these moments. Years later the photographs bring me back these memories and they are always going to be part of me.

What inspired you to create a time lapse of the aurora borealis in Norway?
The aurora borealis thing actually started when I was reading about Iceland, one of my dream places to go. While I still didn't have the chance to go there, it made me become almost obsessed about the Northern Lights. I spent a few months doing some research, trying to understand the origin, how and where to see and how to photograph it, and it turns out Tromsø, Norway is one of the best places in the world for that. I guess that, as a photographer, capturing the aurora borealis came naturally, and capturing it through video using the time-lapse technique was just an extension to that.

Felipe Pitta Interview: Felipe Pitta
Image © Felipe Pitta

Tell us a bit about what time lapse photography is and how it is created.
Time-lapse photography is a cinematography technique whereby the frequency at which film frames are captured (aka the frame rate) is much lower than that which will be used to play the sequence back. Put simply, we are manipulating time. Objects and events that would normally take several minutes, days, or even months can be viewed to completion in seconds having been sped up by factors of tens to millions. The basic gear to get started: a camera, a tripod and an intervalometer.

What kit do you use and why do you like it?
I’m not really an equipment junkie. My main to-go camera is a Canon 5D Mk II which is a very good camera, it delivers quality and the high-resolution (21MP) images I need for prints and a Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L which is an extremely tough and compact wide lens that allows me to snap that picture of a famous building or a broad landscape without having the issue of not being able to get the shot I want to fit in the image.

What genre of photography is your favourite?
Well, travel photography is definitely my main interest, but if I would give it a go with another genre it probably would be astrophotography. I'm actually already flirting with that recently.

Seeing images of the Milky Way, the Moon, constellations etc. is something that fascinates me, and capturing all that with my camera definitely increases all the magic.

Felipe Pitta Interview: Felipe Pitta 2
Image © Felipe Pitta 

Did you have much experience of shooting in low light conditions beforehand?
Not really. I mean, I widely use the long exposure technique on my work when I'm shooting at night, but in fact most of the practice involved while planning the trip to Tromsø was done on my balcony shooting stars during the night.

Do you have any plans for further time lapse videos in the future?
Yes, at the moment I'm working on 2 time-lapse projects: one shot in Dublin, Ireland with image sequences of the city and the other is related with my flirting with astrophotography we were talking about.

What 3 tips would you give to someone wanting to have a go at time lapse photography?
Experiment, experiment and experiment!

I find that experimenting is the best thing one can do in photography regardless to which genre.
Your first few tests should focus more on experimenting with different changing subjects and a little less stress about creating a technically perfect rendered sequence (there’s plenty of time for that later). Create creative compositions, think about the time interval/effect you want to produce, review/test with a few shots before you start and have fun!

For more information on Felipe, take a look at his blog.

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