Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Time Lapse TC
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Time Lapse TC

Jason Hulet’s mind-blowing video of a city in progress

Robert Downes - January 21st, 2013  

What happens when you take more than 15,000 photos on a city street and spin them into a time lapse video?

For real estate photographer Jason Hulet, the result is a surrealistic portrait of a day in downtown Traverse City that has viewers on YouTube and Facebook awestruck over its psychedelic colors and dreamlike progression.

Scan the accompanying QR code with your smartphone or visit the Video Seen link at www.northernexpress.com to see for yourself. The 5-minute, 28-second video captures various downtown street scenes with people and cars flashing by in a flipbook action sequence while the colors of the buildings and pavement twinkle in vibrant tones and the clouds roil in waves overhead for an other-worldly effect.

Normally, Hulet, 43, spends his time taking architectural photos of homes to promote for sale. He shares an office with his wife, Nicole, a Realtor at Coldwell-Banker in TC.

A graduate of Leland High School where he served as photographer on the yearbook staff, Hulet studied photography at Northwestern Michigan College and attended Grand Valley State before launching his Hulet Real Estate Cinematography & Photography business in 2000. He and Nicole have been married for 21 years and have two children, Ashley, 15, and Emily, 13.


Hulet clearly has a creative side that goes beyond shooting area mansions. So how and why did he create his video?

“Well, it’s January, so I figured this is a good time to get artistic and have some fun,” he says with a laugh. “And that’s what I did a few weekends ago, doing some time lapse photography downtown. Then I thought I’d put a twist on it and do some HDR time lapse.”

What’s HDR? “Well, normally we think of a time lapse as taking a frame (photo) maybe once every five seconds,” he says. “What I’m doing is taking three frames every five seconds and then I use software to fuse those three into one frame that I’ll actually use. So I centerexpose it (the photo), underexpose it, and overexpose it and then those three exposures will be fused together to give me a high dynamic range (HDR).”

Typically, Hulet spends 15 minutes at each shooting location, taking photographs using what’s called an intramometer to control the shutter speed on his Canon SD Mark 2 camera. He chats with curious people strolling by, and in one scene early on in his video a homeless man takes a moment to gaze into the camera.

“I take about 900 images for every 15 minutes I’m on the street, but those are fused into 300 images,” he says. “That gives me about 20 seconds of actual time lapse for that segment.”


Back at his computer -- a 2010 Mac -- Hulet manipulates the resulting images, saturating their shadows and highlights to heighten their colors to an intense degree. He uses Photoshop and Final Cut Pro software to rev up the images and spin them into a video. “You’d be amazed at how gray the actual photos are,” he notes, adding that one of the toughest parts of the process is picking out music to go with the video.

He’s had over 600 YouTube views since putting his video online a couple of weeks ago, and the results are so impressive that the Grand Traverse Visitors Center is obtaining the rights to use his work. “The idea is to help highlight Traverse City,” he says.

Response to his video has been so supportive that Hulet recently traveled to Grand Rapids to shoot 19,552 exposures for two full days on that city’s downtown streets. He hopes that Grand Rapids will show the same interest in his work as the Visitors Center in TC.

“I’m going to keep the ball rolling. I plan on going to various cities of interest. It’s a great way to go to a different city, set up your tripod for 15 minutes and watch the heartbeat of the city and what’s going on. You really start to ‘see’ the city because you’re not rushing through it with the hustle and bustle and people come up and talk with you. You just notice things that didn’t occur to you before.”

The impressionistic artistry is what makes Hulet’s street scenes so compelling.

“I’m not looking for realistic images -- I’m looking to tantalize the eyes with color and see the city in a different way,” he says, adding that he’s also created about 300 still images from his video that have the same granular quality as the film.

“It’s a balance between what’s real and effects that make you wonder, when was this done and how was this done,” adds Nicole. “The video brings up a lot of fun questions and I think that’s what art really is -- it captures your eye and makes you ask questions.”

top: Jason Hulet fuses three photographs with various exposure settings into a single frame which is strung together with hundreds of other shots to create surrealistic street images. Scan the QR code with your smart phone or go to the Video Seen link at www.northernexpress.com to see Hulet’s 5:28 video.

right: Real estate photographer Jason Hulet with some of the equipment used to create his surrealistic time-lapse film of a day on the streets of Traverse City.

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