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Istanbul, Blue Mosque timelapse [video]

If you’ve never been to Istanbul and heard the call to prayer that rings throughout the city five times a day, you must! It’s an amazing experience and so far removed from anything I am used to living in London, but something I very quickly grew to appreciate whilst there. So, I decided to take my second venture in to the world of time lapse photography on this brief and VERY last minute trip, and hope I came away with a nice video to remember the experience.

The Video
For this, my second time-lapse, I opted to concentrate on the Blue Mosque as not only is it an impressive bit of architecture but also formed the focal point of our stay as the hotel had stunning views of it from the rooftop bar. Being so close during the Azan, or Call to Prayer and hearing the echos of the thousands of Mosques doing the same all over the city was an almost humbling experience – and sitting within the main courtyard for the sunset call is an experience I won’t soon forget. As with my first time lapse video of Miami, I’ve kept this brief and simple. As we were there for such a short period and I had no research I didn’t want to waste too much time whilst there trying to find the best views etc, as this was a get away first and a photography trip second.
Quick tip: Click the four little arrows symbol, bottom right of the video below to view at full size.

If you prefer, you can also watch the video on YouTube

The Equipment
Nikon D3
28-70 f2.8
Gorillapod Focus tripod
Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead

The Settings

  • Sunrise shot: 1/500, f8, ISO 200, every 2 seconds over roughly 30 min period
  • Day time shots: 2 seconds at f8, ISO 200 using a 10 stop ND filter, every 4 seconds over roughly 30 min period
  • Sunset shot: 2 seconds at f8, ISO 200, every 4 seconds over roughly 40 min period

The setup, Gorillapod Focus, RRS BH-55 & Nikon D3

The Music
After getting home and putting it all together, the original music I had in mind for this was indeed the Azan, but it just didn’t seem to fit in with the video as the fast moving tourists, locals and the blend of modern architecture with the old. So after a bit of searching I found the piece of music you hear here, called Istanbul Engloutie, by Rafiralfiro which I think offers the right blend of authentic and modern tones to go with the images.

Croatia Istanbul
This should have actually been a video of Croatia, but, thanks to Easy Jet cancelling the flight when we got to Gatwick at 5am the day of departure we were forced to find something else, and fast! So, back home that same day and by 12:30pm we had booked a flight to Istanbul flying out of Heathrow at 6:50am the following morning. The only trouble was, having been up since 3:45am and being in a complete rushed panic as to where to go, it was a real risk as to where exactly to stay in the capital, what there was to do there etc. In the end we basically picked a hotel that looked nice in the pictures, set about emailing various airport to hotel transfer companies and just hoped for the best!

Due to having done loads of research on Croatia and having no time to do the same for Istanbul, once we were there I figured the best course of action was to just enjoy the few days we had and do the odd bit of photography if I could. Thankfully, we got lucky to an extent because the hotel ended up being 5 minutes from the Blue Mosque and walking distance from other main attractions such as the Spice and Grand Bizarre.

I can most definitely recommend Istanbul to anyone. It’s a beautiful city, with a few quirks here and there (as a tourist you get very used to smiling and saying ‘no thank you’ a lot as the locals attempt to win your custom) and a very nice mix of people, places and faces. One word of warning, we were not told anywhere or by anyone that you have to buy a tourist visa at the airport before you can get through passport control. So after 45 mins waiting to get to the front of the line we were denied entry and made to go and buy a 90 day visa at 15 Euros each, before having to re-join the back of the passport control line! But to end on a positive, I can also most certainly recommend the Ferman Hotel. A beautiful 4 star, nicely decorated hotel with a stunning view from the roof top bar (go for a sea view room though, many of the others face other buildings – but we had a gorgeous view of the Marmara sea with the Princess Islands and Asia). And the transfer company I found (Backpackers Travelwere superb, professional and courteous – despite a slightly out of date looking website. We were met at arrivals and had an air conditioned van just for the two of us and were given cold drinks from a built in fridge – all that for a total of 35 Euros round trip!

And don’t forget
You can view all the other videos on my blog, including my first time lapse, taken in Miami Florida, here.

Also, why not subscribe to my YouTube channel or my Vimeo channel.

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About the author

Richard Peters is a Surrey based professional wildlife photographer, Nikon Ambassador, and one of the few British photographers to receive the accolade of European Wildlife Photographer of the Year. He is known for a style that often favours dramatic use of light, runs wildlife photography workshops and, from camera clubs to big industry events, holds talks about his work.

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