Derwent Time-lapse Array

The Derwent River, which arises within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, passes through ten hydroelectric developments before meeting the sea at Hobart. The Derwent encompasses a striking range of environments – from remote wilderness to urban estuary, rich with evidence of Aboriginal, Colonial, and industrial history – within a discrete and relatively accessible region. The upper Derwent catchment includes the remote high country headwaters in sub-alpine moorland and wet forests; the surrounding environment is largely unaltered by human activity other than historical Aboriginal fire regimes and settler high country grazing. The middle Derwent is heavily altered by human activity, particularly hydro-industrialisation; this section includes all the major dams and power stations. The lower Derwent contains no in-stream impoundments; the surrounding environment is largely pastoral, then dominated by suburban, industrial, and urban development in the Hobart estuary.

 

Schematic of Derwent River watershed, showing approximate locations of camera stations.

Schematic of Derwent River watershed, showing approximate locations of camera stations.

Our key research aim was to create an adaptable visualisation model that can effectively convey to an audience an intimate experience of this complex place, and its environmental changes over time. The Derwent Time-lapse Array is one method we developed: it consisted of 12 camera stations dispersed across the Derwent in representative environments ranging from wilderness headwaters to urban estuary. Still photographs were recorded at each camera station every five minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for more than two years, creating more than 2.5 million files. These photographs can be recombined in a variety of forms including stills and video animations.

21 months of footage were compiled for the Matrix series, where each pigment ink print displays a selection from one month of footage. Each vertical row represents one day, and shows each camera station at the times of 6am, noon, 6pm, and midnight. The series graphically represents the fluctuation in day length between winter and summer. White spaces are "holes" in the data caused by technical failures.

Matrix (Derwent Time Lapse Array: 1/2/2015 – 30/09/2015, 6am-12pm-6pm-12am)

Matrix (Derwent Time Lapse Array: 1/2/2015 – 30/09/2015, 6am-12pm-6pm-12am)

Matrix (Derwent Time Lapse Array: 1/10/2015 – 29/02/2016, 6am-12pm-6pm-12am)

Matrix (Derwent Time Lapse Array: 1/10/2015 – 29/02/2016, 6am-12pm-6pm-12am)

Matrix (Derwent Time Lapse Array: 1/3/2015 – 31/10/2016, 6am-12pm-6pm-12am)

Matrix (Derwent Time Lapse Array: 1/3/2015 – 31/10/2016, 6am-12pm-6pm-12am)

Matrix, June 2015

Matrix, June 2015

Matrix, December 2015

Matrix, December 2015

Video animations were created from the still photographs using a variety of approaches, including traditional time-lapse animations and animations created from computationally reconfigured "Time Slice" files.

Time Slice: Derwent Estuary looking South from Hunter Street, Hobart, 2016

Derwent Time Lapse Array/TimeSlice/12 stations/Winter 2016

Derwent Time Lapse Array/TimeSlice/12 stations/Summer 2016-17

A compilation of synchronised time-lapse videos created from one week of capture from the Derwent Time-lapse Array: 12 fixed position camera stations located in representative environments across Tasmania's Derwent River watershed, each taking a still photograph every 5 minutes. In this compilation, adjacent camera stations are displayed paired. As the one-week video progresses, the video moves downstream from the headwaters of the Derwent in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area to the Meadowbank Power Station, currently undergoing a turbine replacement. 

A compilation of synchronised time-lapse videos created from one week of capture from the Derwent Time-lapse Array: 12 fixed position camera stations located in representative environments across Tasmania's Derwent River watershed, each taking a still photograph every 5 minutes. In this compilation, adjacent camera stations are displayed paired. As the one-week video progresses, the video moves downstream from Meadowbank Power Station, currently undergoing a turbine replacement, to the urban estuary in Hobart.

Two week-long blocks of time-lapse video from the Derwent Time-lapse Array, exactly three months apart. This is a segment of a six month block titled "Approaching drought: from equinox to solstice to equinox, Lake King William, Tasmania, 2014-09-21 to 2015-03-21" presented at MARS Gallery, Melbourne in May as part of Climarte 2015.

Single channel HD video, dimensions variable, duration 14 minutes, © David Stephenson and Martin Walch 2015. Time-lapse footage from the Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart (5 minute exposure interval / 288 frames per day) displayed one day at a time, as the camera system began to display file-writing errors. This is a compressed two-minute variant, which displays only one day per week: every Sunday from February through October 2015.
Single channel HD video, dimensions variable, © David Stephenson and Martin Walch 2016. Time-lapse footage of the Derwent estuary from the Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart (5 minute exposure interval / 288 frames per day) rendered as 320 vertical slices, with each slice 5 minutes apart in time. The full width of the frame represents just over a full day, progressing through the month of September 2015 as the video plays. Black slices are missing files from the camera system breaking down.