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‘Slow Life’ – a Gorgeous Underwater Macro Time-Lapse Created from 150,000 RAW Images

By Hanssie on March 29th 2014

Underneath the surface of the ocean, a rarely seen world exists. This colorful, hypnotic underwater world of corals, sponges and other aquatic life can only be seen under high magnification and in time-lapse due to the slow process that is naked to the human eye.

“Life has a very broad spectrum of speeds. While we associate plants and even faster creatures such as corals with something still and immobile, particular lifeforms would be hard to even perceive as living objects at all. Kilometers underground, under ocean floor, in ice, and in permafrost metabolic rates of organisms are dramatically slower than on the surface. A simple event such as a cell division can happen over several millennia in those habitats. To our perception such life is literally indistinguishable from rock.”


In ‘Slow Life,’ photographer Daniel Stoupin brings us a mesmerizing look at the secret lives of these beautiful creatures. Painstakingly using focus stacking, the 3 and a half minute video uses 150,000 22-megapixel RAW images to give us in crystal clear detail. Shot in 4K resolution, each frame is a stack of 3-12 image to give us the shallow depth of field required for macro photography. One frame took ten minutes of processing time, which included the raw conversion and stacking. After three weeks of continuous processing, unsurprisingly, his laptop died.

A well-used Canon 7D also succumbed early on in the project and 90% of the video was shot with a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon MP-E 65 mm macro lens, three different models of adjustable custom-spectrum lamps, several motorized stages including StackShot for focus stacking and multiple computers running Sony Vegas, Adobe Photoshop CS6, Zerene Stacker, and Helicon Focus.


The entire video took 9 months to complete and it is well worth the 3.5 minutes to watch, so make sure you watch it on a large screen to appreciate all the tack sharp details.

Read more about this fascinating underwater life on Daniel’s blog.

[via Vimeo/Colossal]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa


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    Beautiful- Mother natures wonder greatly and visually captured by Daniel.


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  3. AlexM

    Very impressive, a real feast for the eyes.

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  4. Maxxuman

    This is an extraordinary video – a great achievement. Thanks for posting it!

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  5. Justin

    There is so much that I’ve yet to experience in the ocean. Simply stunning

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