Travel Across Switzerland With This Enchanting Medium

Malaga-born photographer Jesús González hasn’t always been into cameras, by his own admission. But his video Switzerland Landscapes, composed of individual time-lapse clips taken over the course of a week-long journey around the country, makes us glad that he picked it up in 2008.

More of a fan of computers, Jesús currently works as a graphic designer, and his aesthetically-honed eye is clear in the careful framing with which he sets up each ‘snapshot’. The brooding scale of the landscape, ornamented with flickering clouds and lapping waves, makes for a stunning set that falls somewhere between cinema and cinemagraph.

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We found out what it’s like travelling in search of the perfect time-lapse.

The Plus: How long do you shoot for the time-lapses?
Jesús González:
I like my clips to have the appearance of slow-motion, even though paradoxically they’re all time-lapses! I usually shoot over fairly short periods of time, with 2-5 seconds between each shot, so the clouds move relatively slowly and smoothly.

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TP: Was it tricky, hanging about for the time-lapses in what look like quite punishing temperatures?
JG:
In the video it seems very cold, but in the majority of cases it wasn’t. The first clips, in black and white, are taken by a lake (at that time frozen), approximately one hour on foot across the snow, at an altitude of 3000m on a pretty sunny day. In fact, it was pretty hot, and I sweated a lot getting there…

TP: How did you pick your locations?
JG:
When I do a time-lapse I don’t start with looking for clouds or movement; I frame it so that it looks like a static photograph, and the movement of cloud or shadow is an added complement. When we planned this journey we had some locations that we didn’t want to miss, like the Matterhorn, but the others we found along the way.

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TP: What do we gain from the new perspective of seeing landscape through a time-lapse lens?
​JG:
When you take a photo you’re teaching the viewer about a tiny frozen moment taken from a much longer event, that is itself far from static. Time-lapses help the viewer to discover things that otherwise go unnoticed – for me, it’s something magical.
TP: Any tips for travellers working on their time-lapses?
JG: If you mix speeds in the shot – for example, the slowness of a cloud and the speed of animals – in most cases it won’t come out well.

TP: If you hadn’t found photography, what do you think you’d be channeling your creativity into right now?
JG:
I love music, although I haven’t dedicated as much time to it as I would have liked.

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