Timelapse photography is where you can speed time up . Each frame is captured at a rate much slower than it will be played back. When replayed at normal speed, time appears to be moving faster and thus lapsing. For example, you can timelapse a flower opening or clouds moving.

You’ll need a device/feature called Intervalometer. The intervalometer can trigger exposure at  predefined time intervals. Most of professional Nikon DSLRs have this function but not on low-end DSLRs :( .
Fortunately , we can build it ourself ( link ) or buy from 3rd party vendors . Here’s some:

There’s also other way : tethered shooting . Basically , you command the camera to shoot photos using special tethering software from your PC/notebook. But so far , i havent got a clue about tethering software for D3100 ! is there any?

Steps to make a timelapse video :

  1. Compose the scene .. beach , street , clouds etc . Check this post for ideas
  2. Put the camera on tripod .. you want to make sure that the camera is hold steady while taking pictures
  3. Camera setup:
    • Set camera mode to Aperture Mode .. choose aperture value based on your need : small value for shallow DOF or large value for maximum sharpness ( eg: landscape )
    • use JPEG format , not RAW . If you use RAW then you’ll need to edit/convert those images to JPEG later.
    • turn-off AutoISO and select lowest ISO setting . But if you want to make a grainy videos , use higher ISO settings ( ISO 6400 and up )
    • use Matrix Metering
    • use Manual Focus
  4. Configure the ‘intervalometer’ , set trigger interval
  5. Begin the shooting .. wait until it is done. If you’re planning to make video of 3 hours moving clouds then you should wait for 3 hours.
  6. Import the images to your computer and combine them to make a timelapse video using your favorite movie editing software.  If you have Windows Live Movie Maker , this tutorial might useful.
  7. Done .. share the video to the world and NikonD3100Tips.com :)

That’s it .. simple enough , right ?

Here’s a timelapse video made with Nikon D3100  ( by cpjfox.com )