When we introduced the Bulb Ramping functionality for Triggertrap v1 and Triggertrap Shield a while back, the obvious question on everybody's lips was... What about Bulb Ramping for Triggertrap Mobile customers? Well, the wait is over, folks, with version 1.2 of Triggertrap Mobile, we are introducing full-fledged Bulb Ramping. If you've already bought the Triggertrap Mobile app, you're in luck, and the free update is waiting for you in the App Store. If you haven't, now would be a splendid time to go and buy it. Bulb Ramping Timelapse is the 5th photo-lapse mode available on Triggertrap Mobile - it joins the proud-lineup of the the 'vanilla' Timelapse mode; Long Exposure HDR Timelapse,  Eased Timelapse and distance-lapse. There is no other application in the world that gives you such a wide array of incredible flexibility for timelapse photography!

What is Bulb Ramping?

Bulb Ramping is a form of timelapse photography where you let the Triggertrap Mobile control the shutter duration for ultra-smooth exposure gradients from one photograph to the other: You simply set your starting and final shutter speed, the number of shots you want to take, and the duration you want the timelapse to take.

These settings are usually summarised as "Take 470 photos over 1.8 hours, starting at 1/15 second, ending at 10 second exposure". The Triggertrap Mobile App will show you how long the pause is between each exposure (in the case of this example, it means that you'd be taking a photograph every 14 seconds)

How can you use Bulb Ramping?

Bulb ramping can give incredibly beautiful results, but you do have to have quite a lot of information about the scene you are photographing; and a lot of it will be guess-work.

To get a successful bulb ramping timelapse:

  • Use the camera to measure the 'correct' exposure for the current lighting situation
  • Set your camera to Bulb mode, manual ISO selection, and choose your aperture
  • On the Triggertrap Mobile App, choose your first exposure (this should probably be the same as what you've already measured)
  • Next, choose your last exposure. Knowing what the lighting situation is like several hours from now can be a case of making an educated guess; personally, I like to go out the day before, and measure the light, keeping my fingers crossed that the lighting doesn't change too much from day to day.
  • Finally, choose how many photos you want to take, and how long you want to take photos for.
  • Ready? Great - press the 'start' button, and let's begin

Things worth noting

Some cameras have a 1-second minimum exposure for Bulb mode (this includes my Canon 550D, for example; my Canon EOS 5D mk III is perfectly happy to take 1/15th of a second exposures via the remote control lead). Check your camera manual to find out what your minimum exposure is.

Next, when you move the sliders around, you may find that some of the other sliders move, too. This is to try to help you avoid choosing impossible combinations of settings. As an example: if you end up at a 30 second exposure, for example, it's impossible to have an interval of 28 seconds between each shot: One exposure would still be ongoing when the next one is scheduled to start!

You can start at a short exposure and increase it shot by shot (great for sunsets), or do it the other way around: Start at a long exposure, and make the exposures gradually shorter. Needless to say, that would be the way to go for sunrises :-)

Finally; if you're not sure when the sun rises or sets where you are, we've got you covered: Press the tiny sun icon next to the duration slider, and it'll show you the exact time of sunset where you are. We calculate this ourselves by calculating the position of the sun in the sky based on your GPS co-ordinates and the exact time of day. How bloody awesome is that?!

Let's take a look at an example...

The below example comes with a caveat: This is one of our technical tests where we were testing the exposures from shot to shot only, rather than concentrating on making an incredible time-lapse. It is a little bit jumpy (the wind grabbed my window and bumped it into the camera), and the actual bulb ramping isn't completely perfect; I started it too early (which is why you can see the timelapse is over-exposed in the beginning of the video), and the final exposure wasn't quite long enough (which is why the final frames are a little bit too dark)...

But that's part of the fun as well: We'd love to see what you, our lovely users, come up with. Post your Bulb Ramping videos to Vimeo, YouTube, or Flickr, and post a comment below so we can take a look!

Introducing Bulb Ramping Timelapse on Triggertrap Mobile from Triggertrap on Vimeo.