Did a Wandering Worm Ruin This 24-Hour Time-Lapse of More Than 3,000 Images?

Time-lapse and hyperlapse photographer Matthew Vandeputte recently shot a 24-hour time-lapse from his London balcony only to discover that a small creature appeared to have done a few laps over his images during shooting, ruining the entire sequence. Was it a worm on his sensor? Can you explain what happened?

Sensor dust is a nightmare for many camera owners, and for videographers and time-lapse photographers in particular, it can be very difficult to rectify. Photographers at least have individual images that can be fixed with a little cloning, but as soon as you record video, things become a lot more complicated.

Attempting to correct thousands of images using Lightroom’s spot removal feature is far from ideal even if the dust isn’t moving. Adobe After Effects is usually the better solution, but it does require you to create masks for each dust spot (set to subtract and the Fill Method to Edge Blend), which can be a slow process if there’s a few of them and even harder if the dust spots are moving around.

Vandeputte’s wandering worm remains a mystery. Do you have any suggestions as to why this piece of dust set off on such an epic journey? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Andy Day's picture

Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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It’s from his balcony? Reshoot it. Definitely less work than 3000 images with of spot removal.

Just a piece of dust hanging on by electrostatic charge or basic molecular attraction and bouncing around during exposures. Only change lenses inside an industrial cleanroom and you’ll be fine.

A little duct tape and a little AI.

One of them Alaskan Bull Worms. Pesky.

back in my mini lab days I had fly inside the machine that would leave a white silhouette on the the 6 x 8 inch event photos I was in a big rush to get done.

This is a common issue here in Alaska in the winter while photographing in the cold, When the outside conditions change it takes a while for the internal parts of the camera to equal in turn during the process a for a lack of better terms a storm develops in the camera. It doesnt take much to dislodge any foreign material in the mirror box which as luck has it always ends up on the the sensor or the IR/UV filter.
Other than keeping the inside of the camera clean there isn't a whole lot than can be done