Time Lapse Video of Horton Plaza Mall in San Diego

Time is Running Out: Time Lapse Video of Horton Plaza Mall in San Diego


Photos and Time Lapse Video of Horton Plaza Mall in San Diego, California

Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego has some of the most interesting architecture of any mall I have ever visited. I’m not saying I like to visit malls, but the photographer in me enjoyed visiting this particular one because of the photo opportunities it provides.

I love this photo because it feels like the shoppers in the mall are rushing around to buy that next item. I think the large clock in this photograph adds to the feeling of the hurried consumers.

Not only was time running out for the shoppers, but also for Scott and I who were approached by a security guard not long after this photo was taken. We were told to put our cameras away for “safety reasons.”

When we asked whos safety they were worried about, the security guard mentioned it is actually because the owners of the mall have intellectual property rights and don’t allow photos to be taken. You only look like a threat if you have a professional looking camera because plenty of people take photos with their camera phones and plaster the photos all over Facebook.

To me it seems silly because when people take photos and put them on a website it’s free advertising. I later learned that it’s possible to get a permit ahead of time to set up a tripod and take photos of this mall, so that’s exactly what we did.

Here is another look at the same scene at dusk and a short time lapse video that we created from our second visit to Horton Plaza Mall.

Time is Running Out: Time Lapse Video of Horton Plaza Mall in San Diego


Horton Plaza at Dusk

The lighting wasn’t great when we took the stills for the video. We had limited time and didn’t have the correct equipment for time lapse. Instead of using some fancy editing software we substituted iMovie. No famous audio tracks, just our creation in Garage Band.

Sometimes the conditions are not always perfect or even close to what you wished for, but that shouldn’t stop you from capturing the beauty that you find. This is our first attempt at a time lapse video. Let us know what you think.

I suggest watching this video in full screen and at 720p. If the video doesn’t work in this post, you can view it on you tube.

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  1. Peter Heck says:

    Cool werk with the time lapse, especially for a first attempt!  I like the soundtrack (well done) and how you sped up the frames to correspond.

    1. Thanks, yea it’s amazing what you can do these days with a Mac.

  2. Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate says:

    Love the perspective of this shot! Beautiful!

  3. Rease Kirchner says:

    What an awesome looking mall. It’s almost Alice in Wonderland-esque. The video was really cool, I found myself watching people in what I assume was a cafe or something and seeing how long they sat there haha. 

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      It reminds me of that movie too. I should go back and take some photos in an Alice and Wonderland costume. 🙂

  4. Technosyncratic says:

    Cool time lapse!  And I totally know that exact spot you’re standing in, which is sort of weird but also pretty awesome.  😛

  5. Muza-chan 「ムザちゃん」 says:

    Great time lapse and beautiful photos 🙂

  6. Andrew - The Unframed World says:

    I love how you synced the photos to the music. A+ for details.

  7. I really like the time lapse, I’ll have to play around with trying that myself. It gives a surreal feel the shoppers.

  8. Wow! Impressive first attempt with limited technology. I love the results and way the photos just moves with the music. 

  9. it’s a beautiful picture. The composition is interesting and- like you said- the mall has a nice architecture. The amazing thing is how the color creates a modern-antique ambient. The video is a good plus on this post. 

  10. Randy Kalp says:

    Great work! You guys found the perfect angle for that shot. I love the little escalator in the background. I’ve only been to Horton Plaza a few times myself too, but it definitely has a lot of character. Though not as grand, I’ve always been partial to the University Town Center UTC mall; it was my first California outdoor mall.

    1. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler says:

       Thanks, Randy. We do love our outdoor malls, don’t we?!

  11. Debbie Beardsley says:

    This looks to be a very unique mall.  A permit to take pics at a mall, sounds like something you’d find only in CA!  Love San Diego too 🙂

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      I guess we are pretty close to LA. 😉

  12. Nancie (Ladyexpat) says:

    Wonderful architecture. I never heard of someone having intellectual property rights to a mall…(learn something new everyday!)

    Thanks for joining Travel Photo Thursday.

    1. Yes, it’s quite a story. A story that they probably made up.

  13. Meg | One Love Meg says:

    I live right next to this mall. I love it. I love the feel of walking around outside and it almost feels like you are in whoville. The only downfall is the confusing levels. You go up one staircase and you go from level 2 to 4. But great post and way to feature it. The pictures are great.

    1. Thanks! Yes, I agree the levels are a bit confusing. I think they did that on purpose.

  14. Wow that is so weird but love the architect who thought it up. Vivid imagination but it turned out well. 

  15. Joshywashington says:

    Love the timelapse footage, thanks!

  16. It is really nice time lapse video. What software you was using to create it?

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      We used imovie on our Macs.

  17. Bluegreen Kirk says:

    That mall by far makes the ones near me not worthy of visiting.  Love the video and the time lapse great job!

  18. Raymond @ Man On The Lam says:

    Sheesh!  Photo gestapo alert!  I hate it when security guards do that.  Next time just pretend to speak French — it has worked for me before.. 🙂

    Great time lapse!

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      That’s so funny you say that because when the security guard first came up to us he asked if we spoke English. I was a little shocked at first because I’ve never had anyone ask me that in the US, then I told Scott later that we should have said we didn’t speak English! 🙂

  19. Great job! I think it looks great and the music is great too. 🙂

    Security guards are such douches. Personally I can’t stand anyone that takes their job that seriously. Of course that means I would be a horrible security guard. hhahaha… Technically you can shoot there and anywhere because even though it is private property the owners themselves would have to come and tell you to leave.  No one seems to understand that argument when I tell them though and I find it would just get worse and I get more angry by trying to argue with them. Kudos for you getting the permit! Out of curiosity – did they charge you for it?

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Thanks! They don’t charge for a permit, but I had to use some persuasion in order to get one. 🙂

  20. Nomadic Samuel says:

    Those are some great perspective shots!

  21. Michael Figueiredo says:

    You have no idea what happy memories this just brought back to me! Horton Plaza was built when I was a kid and my grandparents used to take me there all the time, when I’d visit them in San Diego. All of the colors and zany architecture made me feel like I was at Disneyland! 

    1. It reminded me of Disneyland too especially the part where security escorted us out… 8D

  22. Country Skipper says:

    Very cool! I’ve never played around with a time lapse video (or much videos for that matter), but it looks really nice. I’m always impressed when I see them on other people’s blogs 🙂 And I like your music too!

    1. Nice, thank you! I think when we get the right equipment we’ll iron out the kinks.