I enjoy shooting animals, but very few of them are suitable for timelapse photography. Maybe that’s the reason I like shooting snails 😉 On the technical side: I follow my ‘object’ during the shot. Something like Following the boat [26th of 52 Timelapse Project]but there are a few new usefull tips. Check out them below!

Snails like moist evenings , especially after the rain. It wasn’t the best day for that, but I found a few in the grass. I wanted to shoot it on the rock, so I had to gently move the snails from the grass. Remember, don’t hurt your actors 😉 You won’t force an animal to do what you want. You’ve got to be patient and wait. Usually it takes a few minutes for the snail to get out of it’s shell and then it starts exploring new place (or getting back to the grass). Not every snail will get out, so it’s better to find more than one.

The technique

The technique is pretty much similar to what I did two weeks ago in  Following the boat [26th of 52 Timelapse Project]. I used an intervalometer set to 2 seconds. It’s good to disable “review picture” option (the option that shows the picture you took on the screen for a few seconds). You don’t have time to review the foto, you’ve got to follow the snail! It’s faster than on cartoons 😉

I put my camera on the tripod with a telephoto lens with macro capabilities and manually followed the snail. I chose one point on the shell I wanted to follow and tried to keep it in the same place all the time. There are two differences: you can’t use autofocus here, because it probably will ruin your scene. The depth of field in macro shots is so shallow, that autofocus can choose slightly different focus plan every picture, which results focus changes, that you can’t repair in post.

The second difference is also about focus. As I mentioned the depth of field is very shallow. And you can’t use autofocus. So, there is one thing left: you’ve got to manually pull the focus to keep the snail sharp. It becomes pretty hard when you’ve got to follow the snail, but it’s possible 😉

Of course, don’t choose too long shutter speed, because you get blurred images. I was shooting at 1/20″.

And here’s a song from Youtube (not mine), that will let you feel the mood of the shot 😉

Post production

Of course, the result from camera isn’t something usable. It requires stabilization. This time I also wanted to try something different, than last time (for the boat I used one point stabilization in After Effects). I just put a Warp stabilizer and watched the results 😉 It was very good at the beginning and at the end. In the middle part it starts stabilizing the snail, not the background. The solution is simple: got to the Advanced options, check “Show track points” and delete the points on the snail every few frames. The result was much better! I had to adjust some rotation problems in the middle but it was pretty good 🙂 The second thing I had to do in post was…  remove the poop the snail did in the beginning of the shot.

That’s not my first SnailLapse 😉 You can find one in my reel:

As always you’re welcome with your shots to my facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/timelapse.hyperlapse/

That’s all for the 28th week of 2017 🙂 I hope you like it. For those, who read this all the way to the end I can say in confidence: I’m planning a new timelapse challenge, this time for you, readers. With some prizes (for now small, but I think attractive). To take part you will have to just shoot timelapse! (in fact just one shot). Experience is gold and I want to encourage you to shoot some timelapses 😉 Everything should start next month. What do you think? Let me know in the comments!



  1. It will be really nice if you make some challenge for us! ? It is really good idea! ?

    • Tomasz

      Great 🙂 I’m finishing my commercial projects, prepare the prizes and we’re starting next month! 😀