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 put a watershed in motion. 

Beginning in 2011, conservation photographer Michael Forsberg partnered with filmmaker Michael Farrell and technology expert Jeff Dale of TRLcam to custom-design a series of automated, weatherproof timelapse cameras.

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

During the next couple years, the PBT team set up these cameras throughout the 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 60 cameras taking pictures every day.

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

In this video, watch a timelapse 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 Box so we can view them in near real-time. The rest of the cameras have to be visited a few times a year to retrieve the imagery. Then, the images are selected, edited, and compiled into timelapse videos.

Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to hear about stories, projects, and other things we’ve been up to.

You have Successfully Subscribed!