Tilt-Shift Time-Lapse Shows the Creation of a Man-Made Pond in Two Minutes

The Birth of a Pond video above was shot by photographer James Breen over a three week period as he watched a construction crew create a pond from scratch in the Fall of 2009. To be fair, he didn’t catch the entire “birthing” process, the final scene was captured a year after the pond was completed (allowing it enough time to fill naturally) but the video is still quite mesmerizing to watch.


Gear-wise, Breen used his Canon 40D and Nikon P50, with the Canon doing most of the heavy lifting. As far as shutter speed, he chose to shoot the entire time-lapse in AV mode, since he wasn’t going to be present for much of the shooting.

The topsoil removal shots at the beginning were taken at 90 second intervals (because that process moves so quickly), after which Breen switched over to 5 minute intervals for the remainder of the shoot. A tilt-shift filter was later applied in post.

Three weeks of work, a few rain delays, and a few months worth of necessary rain to actually fill the pond later, and voila, we have the final product.

(via Coudal Partners)

  • Mark Dub

    very cool. I would not have even thought that was real. Looked like toys :)

  • Leonardo Abreu

    Damn you, humans!!

  • Ralf Dahlhaus

    it’s not tilt-shift… looks more like a blur filter.

  • Richard Ford

    Euch. Stagnant water. Hello stench one mosquitos. Way to ruin a nice green field.

  • 773metric

    Fake depth of field grates with me just as much as those Photoshop Disaster style reflections created by horizontally flipping something, because people aren’t thinking clearly about what would actually happen if it was real.

    What we have here is blur at the top, blur at the bottom, central third in focus, which is great as long as everything at the same distance is confined within those areas. But the top of the tree on the left gets blurred, even though it’s the same distance away from the viewer as the bottom of the tree. The whole tree needs to be in focus. It’d only appear like this if the top of the tree was absolutely enormous, and stretched out away from the viewer all the way to the horizon.

  • gabe sturdevant

    He should ask for his money back from the construction crew. Three weeks to dig that hole? I could see if it was lined or something, but that should have been done in a week tops.

  • Brett

    Tilt shift has been around forever and I don’t think it’s fully fair to criticize a common and well accepted film effect, however it looks like it’s actually not even real tilt shift, but something he did in post. Which makes it feel even cheaper to me, since a real tilt shift lens would produce much cleaner results and blow out highlights.

    Even then, the tilt shift is too strong to my taste. Keep it subtle.

  • Chris L

    Can’t get excited by time lapse anymore