How We Do It

The Platte Basin Timelapse project uses the power of photography and storytelling to show where our water comes from and to see a watershed in motion.

Beginning in 2011, conservation photographer Michael Forsberg partnered with documentary producer Michael Farrell, NET Television and technology expert Jeff Dale of TRLcam to custom-design a series of automated, weatherproof time-lapse cameras.

Inside of our custom built timelapse cameras. Photo by Peter Stegen.

During the next couple years, the PBT team set up these sturdy, stationary cameras throughout the entire Platte Basin: from the headwaters at Lake Agnes, Colorado, to the convergence of the Platte and Missouri rivers on Nebraska’s eastern border. Currently, there are more than 40 cameras snapping pictures every day.

A map of our time-lapse camera locations, with the Platte River Basin outlined in gray.

In this video, watch a time-lapse of the PBT Team installing a camera at Cheesman Reservoir, 50 miles southeast of downtown Denver.

Today, about half of the cameras automatically upload their images to PBT headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska. We travel to our more remote cameras to collect the others in person. Then the images are selected, edited and compiled into time-lapse videos.

Learn more about PBT co-founder Michael Forsberg’s work as a conservation photographer in the video below, created by our friends at QUEST Nebraska.

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