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Sunset at Lucerne’s Hotel Monopol

This time-lapse video of Lucerne, Switzerland ended up being tougher than I’d anticipated. So much planning! Success depended on two crucial elements: finding a location and watching the scene change before I’d set up a camera. The first one was easy. I wanted a city scene of Lucerne as it transformed at sunset around a 24-minute period. Before Cheryl and I left the US for our river cruise, I scoped out the area via Google images. I realized the hotel we were staying at, the Monopol (opened in 1899), was quite picturesque. It had to look great during sunset.

We were there for two nights. The first night I located a spot for the camera: across the street at the trolley station. There I stood and watched the sunset. A few minutes before, the spotlights went on, illuminating the hotel in a spectacular way. To show the lights going on, I couldn’t waste valuable time-lapse moments waiting for the lit moment. So I decided to photograph the hotel just before the lights went on, and when they did a few minutes later, I’d begin the time-lapse.

I also wanted shots of Lucerne citizens, so I went the next day to a farmer’s market and photographed the shopkeepers, denizens, and travellers. Most gracefully complied.

Traveller in Lucerne

That night I photographed the hotel with my compact Canon G7X, Mark II. I attached it to my trusty plastic table tripod and propped it up on a concrete wall. A few feet from me, off-duty trolley drivers were taking their breaks. When the sequence was over, one asked me what I’d been doing. I ran the time-lapse sequence for him and he indicated dazzlement by shaking his head back and forth. He probably wondered why I bothered at all.

For music, I selected Beethoven’s Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano in C major, Op. 56 (the Triple Concerto). I’d always loved the way the first movement ends in a frenetic vivace burst.

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Peter Bates

Peter Bates is a writer and photographer living in Florida. He is the administrator of this blog and runs the blog Stylus.

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