MIT Student Took a Million Pics of Boston’s Skyline from the Same Spot Over Five Years

'The Boston Timescape Project' captures the timeless beauty of this little city of ours.

Photo courtesy Adrian Dalca

Photo courtesy Adrian Dalca

If you live in Greater Boston, sooner or later, you’re going to snap a photo of the skyline. There will come a day when the Prudential Tower and 200 Clarendon are enveloped in the peachy haze of a late August sunset, or the Charles River festooned with little white sailboats, or a fusillade of fireworks outshines the fluorescent flickers of office space, and you’ll get that insatiable itch to take a picture.

Adrian Dalca took a million.

For Dalca, a Cambridge resident and PhD candidate at MIT studying medical imaging analysis, photography is just a hobby. “We moved into this really great apartment that happens to overlook the city and the river. In the beginning, it was just the occasional picture—nice sunsets or a nice storm, or something like that,” he says.

From there, it grew—exponentially. Over the next 69 months, Dalca took one million photographs of the Boston skyline and parts of Cambridge using a Canon 5D Mark II, a GoPro Hero 2 and Hero 3, and several point-and-shoot and phone cameras. The result, the “Boston Timescape Project,” is an comprehensive collection of view of our fair metropolis, in every season, in every condition.

The ostentatious Millennium Tower notwithstanding, Boston’s skyline hasn’t changed too radically since Dalca, 30, got started.

“Boston doesn’t change as dramatically as other cities, but there’s a little bit of [construction visible] over time,” Dalca says. “The other thing is, there’s actually construction of a low-level building in Cambridge that’s in front of our window. So it’s kind of interesting to see that over the last five years, that building gets remade and reconstructed, and three floors get added.”

Photo courtesy Adrian Dalca

Photo courtesy Adrian Dalca

One of Dalca’s favorite events is the yearly freezing of the Charles, and the subsequent arrival of the icebreaker boats. Though he doesn’t plan to make one all-encompasing million-photo time lapse, Dalca says he’s willing to collaborate with anyone who’d like to use his photographs for their own research projects.

You can check out the Boston Timescape Project here.