A Timelapse Photographer’s Essentials

Paul Shirley specializes in landscape and timelapse photography and is based in Austin, Texas. Here’s a look at what he carries in his gear bag.


Sony A7R II, best hybrid camera for video and stills, can shoot 4k video and a 42 megapixel sensor means 8k timelapses.


Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, Canon 16-35mm f4, Canon 24mm f1.4, Zeiss 55mm f1.8, Zeiss 85mm f1.8, Tamron 70-200mm f2.8. Another plus for the A7R II is that I can adapt all these various lenses, really love the Zeiss 55mm for being super sharp.


An homage to an Austin tradition, the Trail of Lights at Zilker Park. Shot over four days during the 2015 year.


Aputure HR672C Light Panels. Small, light-weight, great color rendition, and not too expensive (get the grid and softbox).


Kembali is a film about returning. Once you leave a place it lives on as memory. Brief flashes of time, scattered. Yet, to return solidifies the connections you’ve previously made, both tangible and not. Shot in Bali, Indonesia in the Fall of 2014, Kembali is also a love letter to my Balinese family and the beautiful island I called home for a couple of years.

Shot on Canon 5D mark II with Canon 24mm f1.4L and Zeiss 50mm prime lenses. Motion control rig, Dynamic Perception Stage 1 slider and Emotimo TB3 Black. A Few Glidecam shots as well.


Tamrac Corona 20 backpack. Cleverly designed backpack/sling, plus the top can hold my misc. video gear and it all fits under the seat on planes!


My bag is always changing depending on the shoot, from adding my Ronin M, Mavic Pro Drone, Timelapse Motion Control Slider, or even a 12ft jib. Whatever it takes to get the shot. Best advice for a novice is to get a good fluid-head tripod for video (you’ll use this more than anything else), and learn (the best gear never means the best photo). My advice for seasoned photographers (especially landscape), a solid set of ND filters, from 3-10 stop ND filters (I like the LEE Big Stopper), and Graduated NDs with soft and hard grads (Lightroom and Photoshop can only do so much, in camera is overlooked in the digital age).

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Paul Shirley

Paul Shirley is a freelance videographer and documentary filmmaker in Austin, TX specializing in timelapse photography.

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