Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Time Lapse

So, I have a little treat for you guys today. I ended up buying a time lapse camera the other day, always wanted one and finally the one I'd been watching went on sale, plus free shipping. Ended up spending $168 for this Brinno TLC200, and thanks to the sale saved maybe 50 bucks, so that's cool by me.

I got excited and had to use it right away. It helps that I had the second half of the day off work. I admit it didn't come out as well as I'd hoped, but here's a time lapse (or really, a stop-motion) video of me kayaking about in a couple canals here in Cape Coral. Next time, I'll try to remember to level the camera, as well as setting the interval to 1 second rather than 2. That's as low as I can go with it, but it would clearly make a difference, cutting the jumpiness by half and slowing it down. But I'll share it anyways, just to give you a more animated view of my neighborhood. I take you with me as I explore for the first time a couple undeveloped canals I scoped out on Google Earth.

Now, I'd like to point out, most of the canals in Cape Coral or the rest of SW Florida don't look wild like this. For some reason I ended up living in an area surrounded by relatively built out areas (say, 75% built), while my actual area is probably only 20% built out. Just born lucky, I guess (ha). So, some of the canals around here have a lot of trees. Non-native, invasive trees, mainly, but trees nonetheless. And cattails, sedges, reeds, and other vegetation. Beats paddling past stuff like this all day:

First thing they do when they build a house, it seems, is scrape the lot clean of life and build a sea-wall (though a few homes have no wall), thereby eliminating the main attraction of living in the area (in my humble opinion). I mean, if all the city's canals were lined in cement walls, devoid of the strips of riparian habitat, they'd be little more than water roads and, lets face it, open sewers, what with the murky pea-soup water filled with garbage, pesticides, fertilizer runoff, and effluent from the many old and leaking septic systems that the city has yet to deal with. [[deep breath]]

photo snagged from Google Earth
Of course, in the wealthier areas of the city, mostly the south part near the Caloosahatchee River, the homes are huge and all have pools, are nicely landscaped with palms and flowering shrubs, and don't have big piles of broken concrete in the back yard as the [vacant] home on the right does in the first picture. Most will have boat docks and, in the salt water ocean-access canals, boat lifts. Pretty nice neighborhoods, really. It reminds me of bicycling with my dad back in metro Detroit; we'd sometimes get over to the richer suburbs, and he'd always say how nice it was to bike in such upscale places. Me, I don't really want to look at stuff like that. I always preferred the farm country, open spaces with greenery, or the often-wooded rails to trails. Give me nature any day. 


  1. Cool stuff, Brandon. Cool stuff. I like the video -- I didn't know there were cameras specifically designed for making time-lapse videos. For some reason I thought you had to use a DSLR camera.

    Were the canals built purely for recreational purposes, i.e. as a nice perk for the more affluent people living in that area? Or do (or did) they have a more utilitarian function? Like as a water highway where you could go about your daily business with a boat instead of a car?

    1. Recreational only, aside from maybe some marinas/resorts. Some canals connect to the river/estuary for saltwater access, sailboats and such, while the rest are just freshwater ones. There are several lakes (all man made) for those people to fart around on, mostly fishing from what I've seen, though a guy I work with sometimes lives on one of the larger lakes, and uses his jet ski out there.

      Also, they serve as drainage systems in what was originally low and swampy ground. They dug the canals to turn the sheet flow drainage into a channelized one, while also using the excavated dirt as fill for the southern two thirds or so of the city, which were only a couple feet above sea level. Now we top out at maybe 8-10 ft.

      Let's just say that with today's laws, such wetland degradation would never happen. But back in '58, anything went.

      As for the camera, it's certainly nothing fancy, but it's kind of fun. Not so much designed for stop motion as I used it, though.