Night Falls Over Austin [Watch]

Can anything beat the sight of Austin’s glittering skyline at twilight on Town Lake? Benny Abolmaali doesn’t think so. Abolmaali, BA ’05, made this gorgeous time-lapse video to share his favorite spot in the city.

Abolmaali is a UT economics alumnus turned professional wedding photographer who answered Austin’s siren call when he moved back to the 512 in 2008. We asked him for the behind-the-scenes scoop.

The Alcalde: Why did you make this video?

Benny Abolmaali: About a year and a half ago, I was trying to push the boundaries of what I could do with my camera, a Canon Rebel T2i. So I decided to try a time-lapse. All I needed was my camera, a tripod, and an intervalometer, which is a device that triggers the camera to snap a photo at regular intervals. I actually shot using the kit lens—that’s the basic lens that comes with the camera. It all goes to show that with the technology out there today, you can do a lot without buying a ton of fancy equipment.

I set up the camera for about an hour and shot about 2,500 still photos converted to 24-frame-per-second video. Essentially, 24 photos make up one second of video. The advantage of using a still camera, rather than a video camera, is that you have more freedom to do long exposures. That makes for great nighttime photography.

Why this spot on Town Lake?

There’s just no better place to see the city. I moved to Austin when I was 7 years old and stayed here through college, so I’ve seen the city grow so much over time. Whenever I’m at the lake, I always find myself getting off my bike or taking a break from my run to rest a moment at that spot.

Tell me about how you got into photography.

I studied economics and history at UT, and after graduation I moved to Houston and worked in finance. I hated it for a lot of reasons, and after three years I finally got brave enough to quit my job and come back to Austin. That gave me the chance to work on photography, which was just a hobby at the time. Luckily, I had the time and energy to devote to it, and I started learning everything I could. Then I worked for a wedding photographer to get experience. And now I’m doing what I love full-time, which is web design and photography.

Are you back in Austin for good?

For now, yes. The creative energy here is hard to match anywhere else.


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