A Stunning Time-lapse of Seoul That Took Three Years to Complete

Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, along with its adjoining cities houses and employs approximately half of Korea's 51 million residents. With high-rise apartments being the norm for housing, and a three to four hour traffic jam twice a day, it's easy to see that Seoul is a city of epic proportions. Seoul-based photographer and videographer Noe Alonzo's time-lapse superbly captures the magnitude and pace of his city.

Alonzo set out to capture a time-lapse that caught the most beautiful times of day: sunrise and sunset. He taught himself hyperlapsing and worked with bulb-ramping to get the perfect exposures from day to night, while keeping a careful eye on his histogram to ensure that he didn't lose any data in highlights or shadows. Each and every shot was taken in raw format so he would have enough flexibility in his files to make each shot spectacular.

Aside from the technical challenges, Seoul has its own particular brand of difficulty — air quality. Sometimes the city goes weeks without seeing the sun rise or set because of the haze. Sometimes this is atmospheric, sometimes man-made, but it is ever-present, and was the largest contributing factor to Alonzo's project taking him three years to complete. On occasion he would need to shoot the same location 4 or 5 times, repeating his 500 image capture to get the conditions just right. Half-joking, he says that a project like this in Seoul can take a toll on your personal and social life.

By watching the video through to the end, you'll also get links to Alonzo's YouTube tutorials on time-lapse. There's some great information in there if you're starting out with time-lapse photography.

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3 Comments

Simon Anderson's picture

This time lapse is just stunning which makes me want to check out all those locations with my camera

Ansel Spear's picture

It's very competent but I'm afraid it does nothing for me.

Once again, like so many current TL pieces, there's no narrative (filmic construction), just a succession of rather samey shots with a clichéd backing track.

Well I can't stop staring at "Rock on" logo and other annoying "Subscribe me" popups .. they killed it for me. They aught to use Vimeo. :)