“Cities are a place of never ending motion, they are fueled by the people that inhabit them, and it is that commitment of wanting to make a place somewhere unique that gives Milwaukee its own feel that no other city I have visited has given.” – Tyler Yomantas
Motions of Milwaukee is a time-lapse short film I have spent the past two years working on. The overall creation and inspiration of this project came out a previous piece that featured my hometown of Rockford, Illinois. While producing that short, I knew I would soon be leaving for school in Wisconsin. I decided to give myself a new project that I could film when I had time, and not set a deadline for completion.
The time-lapse technique is basically a bunch of photos stitched together, taken with a consistent interval of time between each picture. With a clip of Milwaukee showing the late afternoon sunset becoming night, for example, that could be a thirty second interval between each photo. Sometimes the process would take up to three hours at one location. Other clips of clouds rushing by or traffic going through the streets usually had a three to six second interval. That only required up to a half hour at each location.
I had quite a bit of down time through the process, and entertained myself mostly by either playing with some app on my phone, or chasing away the mosquitoes. My photographic style focuses a lot on landscape and cityscape imagery, so time-lapse was an extension of what I enjoyed doing. I became interested with wanting to elongate the experiences I saw in nature or in a city instead of using a singular image.
One of the largest obstacles I had to overcome as a photographer turned out to really be a blessing. Having only three modes of readily available transportation, walking, bicycling, and public transit really slowed down my perspective of Milwaukee. That helped produce some of the overall best moments in the short film. Navigating the city without a car allowed me to see an evening sunset about to erupt in the sky, or notice a new view of the skyline when turning a corner.
One day in March I walked from my dorm at the Milwaukee Іnstіtutе of Аrt and Dеsіgn (MІАD) to the Milwaukee Pierhead Lighthouse at four in the morning. It was a silent journey with no people or traffic. I walking along the street holding a five-foot-long camera slider, which is basically a mini dolly that would allow me to film time-lapse tracking shots. By the time I reached the lighthouse, I was greeted with some of the most stunning colors I have ever seen. The clouds floated in deep magentas and shades of blue as the sun drifted up over Lake Michigan. It was a rewarding sight for a landscape photographer to watch, and I savored it after setting up my equipment.
Working on the project for two years provided me time to capture the mood and feel of every season in Milwaukee. I will never forget those experiences. Since I was not originally from the area, so many sights were new to me. It was a treat to witness those solitary moments, stunning in form and color, and record scenes of the city I was exploring and getting to know.
In sharing the short film with the public, it is my hope to show a unique side of Milwaukee, to visitors who have never travelled here and residents who in their daily rush overlook the magical details of their home.