Back in March I wrote a post about tides and how they are effected by the moon and the sun. The link to that post is here. The most dramatic time of this effect is during the King Tides which occur here in Mackay on the days of the full moon in January and again in February. The full moon in January this year occurred on the 1st of January 2014. On the 2nd of January I went down to the Mackay City fisherman’s boat ramp on River Street. It is one of our usual launching points for sea kayaking trips, but on this day I took my camera instead.

I set up my camera to take individual still frame photos over a 6 hour period and then in a video software program put the photos together into what looks like a video. It is called time lapse photography, you probably have heard the term before. It is very common on You Tube usually taken of Sunrises or Sunsets over some dramatic canyon. Here in my time lapse sequence I wanted to show the dramatic difference in the tide height. I could have just taken 2 photos, one at high tide and one at low tide, but instead I took 779 photos over a 6 hour period and through the magic of video condensed it in 2 minutes and 45 seconds.

Camera set up for Time Lapse Photography

When I set up the tripod to take the photos it was about 10 minutes after the highest part of the tide. Where I wanted to set up the camera was under water when I first arrived. The water had covered the complete boat ramp and was covering part of the car park. One fisherman had gone away fishing and parked his car most likely where he usually does. At the highest part of the tide the water was lapping around the axles of his car. He might have got a shock when he came back from fishing. By the time I set up the camera on the tripod, although the feet of the tripod still had water lapping around it had already receded back a couple meters across the car park.

The Boat Ramp at High Tide

The predicted high tide for that day was 6.45 meters and the low tide that evening was 0.44 meters. A difference of 6.01 meters or 19 feet 8 inches in the old language. My thought is, imagine that height of water spread across the river an approximately width of 60 meters and up the river for about 15 kilometers. That is a huge volume of water which has to flow in and out of the river. That is why sea kayakers in particular have to take the tides into account.

The Boat Ramp at Low Tide

Apart from just watching the tide go out and taking photos, it was a busy day at the boat ramp. Being just after the New Years day, there were a lot of people still on holidays and going fishing. The were some people just fishing off the bank, one guy spent hours with the cast nets trying to catch bait or a feed. He also had a couple children following him around checking his catch. After I finished the video, every time I have watched it, I have noticed something else happening around the photo frame. A tree in the foreground comes out of the water, seagulls appear and disappear, a tarp I had lunch on appears in a couple frames, kids and other spectators move around, boats drift across the current as they come into the boat ramp, clouds move across the sky, shadows of the photographer and a bloke who stood chatting for sometime get longer and longer, sandbars, rocks and islands appear in the river. If you enjoy this time lapse photography, please leave a comment on the You Tube page.

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