A Multiple Exposure Tutorial

One Exposure is Not Enough

Those who follow me on Google+ will be very well aware that I've recently started testing a technique known as "Multiple Exposures" - new to me, not to the world of photography, of course.

It's actually pretty simple and has been used for a very long time. Back in the analog film days, the photographer simply exposed the same sheet of film multiple times by not  winding the film to the next frame.

In today's modern digital cameras, you often have a special feature called "Multiple Exposure" in which you can define the number of exposures to blend and the method to do so.

On my Canon EOS 5D Mark III I generally use either "Additive" or "Average" mode.

Additive mode

I usually choose additive mode, in low light situations as you can shoot with much shorter shutter speeds than in Average mode or for regular single exposures.

Additive is doing the exact same thing as you would do with an analog camera, it adds the exposure values of each individual frame which means you will have to underexpose your shots depending how many you're shooting. 

Here is an example:

1 Exposure = 0 EV
2 Exposures = -1 EV  
4 Exposures = -2 EV
8 Exposures = -3 EV
... and so on.

Can you see the pattern? It's actually really simple. Forget about the number of exposures for a minute and simply think in exposure time. When my camera meter suggests a shutter speed of 1/10th with an aperture of f/7.1 and ISO 100 to get a proper exposure and I shoot 2 exposures, I need to shoot each individual one at 1/20th to get a total exposure time of 1/10th. Got it?

So with 8 exposures, I had to shoot each frame at 1/80th of a second. Adding to those 8 frame together brings me back to a total exposure time of 1/10th. 

In order to get the desired effect, I focused on the center of the crane and placed it right into the middle, exactly where my center focus point is, I then turned the camera slightly clockwise until I completed all 8 frames. 

The great thing about the 5D Mark III is that you see the resulting image after every shot so in case you didn't underexpose enough, you can stop shooting after 6 or 7 to prevent an overexposed image. If you would be shooting in live-view mode, you can actually see the a ghost image version of the previous ones while composing the shot, this works much better in average mode but more to that later. 


The Crane Spiral - 8 exposures in Additive Mode


Average Mode

I'm shooting Average mode during the day when there is plenty of light. For this particular photograph, I focused on the tree and aligned it as equally as possible for each frame while walking around it, trying to keep the same distance. You will not get it perfectly aligned but that's exactly what makes those photographs interesting. 

I shot all 8 exposures with the exact same setting: 

1/400th at f/8 and ISO 100

8 Exposure image in Average Mode


A Color Efex Pro Recipe to send your Photographs back in time

Very easy technique to create that vintage look

When I go out and shoot landscapes or cityscapes, my goal is not always to create a realistic looking image, sometimes I want to create a piece of art that could resemble a real scenery but at a different location or time.

Flo's Cafe Cars Land at Disneyland Anaheim in HDR

My intention with this photograph of Flo's Cafe in Cars Land at Disneyland Anaheim was to make it look like an old gas-station from the 50's or 60's, somewhere along Route 66, in a town named Radiator Springs.

The biggest challenge was to get rid of the Disney crowds. As you can imagine, this area of Disney's California Adventure Park is very crowded but there are certain dates and times of the day plus some photography techniques that you can use to your advantage. 

First of all, we went there on a weekday in February and I shot this while the evening parade took place to limit the crowds to an absolute minimum. 

In order to capture all details in the shadows and highlights, I shot 3 different exposures and I've used shutter-speeds between 30 seconds and 2 minutes to make all moving subjects disappear. My remaining issues were a guy leaning onto the pole on the left and the official Disney photographer that wouldn't move an inch to take pictures of tourists in front of the cafe but I got rid of both thanks to Photoshop's Content-Aware feature. 

I really love Nik's Color Efex Pro 4 and I'm using it a lot. Color Efex Pro provides dozens of filters that you can mix and save as recipes. You can download the recipe that I've used for this image. I named it Cars Land VintageHave fun.

Everything has changed - not

I haven't moved to a different blog platform, don't worry. I'm still with Squarespace because those guys are doing a tremendous job.

I just upgraded from Squarespace 5 to the new version 6, something I had in mind for quite some time.

The URL of the old blog-posts are still the same so I hope I didn't confuse Google to much with this.

I know I haven't been very active lately on my blog but I set new a new goal to post at least one new photography blog-post every week.

Those who follow me on Google+ will be familiar with my tips on photography but I noticed they're not that easy to find so I decided to continue posting those tips here on my blog and I will link to those posts from my Google+ site.

Feel free to chime in with any comments or questions.

Order a Fine Art Print of this Photograph

Zuger Kantonalbank Building in Zug - 4 minute exposure

Finding Inspiration with the iPhone

Shooting Puddles with the iPhone - Why not?

Yeah, I know this sounds crazy and trust me, people look at me as if I was crazy while shooting those puddles with the iPhone and I probably am... but who cares, right?

A little backstory:

During the past few years, I've been shooting pretty much exclusively with professional DSLR's and high-end lenses and got spoiled. A couple of weeks ago, after reading a post by Scott Kelby about a iPhone photographer, I got inspired so I grabbed my iPhone and decided to start a personal project about iPhoneography.

At the same time, the weather turned really bad, so I decided to start shooting reflections in puddles and this is the outcome.

The photographs are obviously not perfect and I would have gotten a much higher quality pictures had I shot it with better gear but the restriction to a camera-phone made these shots possible in the first place because I don't think I would ever have gotten this inspiration had I done this with my DSLR.

In order to get more control over the exposure and focus points, I switched from the built-in camera app to Camera Awesome by SmugMug. It has become my camera app of choice on the iPhone because I can split up the focus and exposure points very easily which is not possible with the default app. I only wish Apple would allow third-party camera apps to use the volume-up button to release the shutter because I could then use my head-phone cable with volume control as shutter button.

UPDATE: @AndyNico_ just informed me that Camera+ is supporting exactly the shutter feature I was missing in Camera Awesome and since it also supports separate metering and focusing I will give it a try. Thanks @AndyNico_

What I've learned during the process was to give more attention to the exposure because blown-out highlights in an iPhone JPG are blown out and the best recovery slider cannot bring them back - compared to a RAW file of my DSLR where I get quite some legroom to bring back those details. I realized that instead of exposing to the right, I had to actually expose to the left because I could bring back the shadows much better compared to loosing the highlights for good. 

As there is no exposure-compensation feature on the iPhone, I usually metered for bright areas - like the clouds in the sky - that resulted in a darker exposure but thanks to the 'Shadows" slider and awesome noise reduction feature in Lightroom I could bring those darker details back without generating to much noise.

You can see more of my iPhone work by clicking on any picture that will you redirect to the iPhone gallery of my portfolio site.

I also post regularly on my Google+ site

If you have any questions, feel free to leave your comment and I will be happy to answer them.

The Magic of Disney in 21 pictures

Disney World in Orlando, Florida is possibly one of the most photographed amusement parks in the World so it's quite tough to create a set of photographs that don't look like the gazillion others that are taken every year. 

I went to Disney World with my wife and 3 kids and concentrated on shooting 3 parks in the evenings. I usually travelled very light with just one body (Canon EOS 5D Mark III), two lenses (Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L and the 50mm f/1.4) plus my Gitzo tripod that I carried using the camera-strap from the 5DIII. I was first worried that I would get into trouble by bringing a tripod into the parks but the folks at Disney are very cool about it, no problem with it at all.

I didn't shoot in Disney's Animal Kingdom because that park usually closes at 7pm, so twilight pictures were out of question.

Park #1 - Disney's Hollywood Studios

All of the pictures of this park were shot along Sunset Blvd as I was there just one evening so I hadn't enough time to cover the rest of the park during twilight time. 



Park #2: Disney's Epcot Center

Epcot Center is my favorite park to photograph. There are 11 pavillons around a lake and each represents a different country.

Make sure to stay until after the daily fireworks that takes place at 9pm. The park officially closes at 9pm but they let you stay in much longer, the rides will be closed but I had plenty of time to walk around and shoot pictures.

Park #3: Disney's Magic Kingdom

I've been to Magic Kingdom many times so while my family watched the Main Street Electrical Parade, I wandered around the areas of the park that were pretty much deserted and shot my nithgtime HDR's. I shot all of below night-time pictures during the same evening  that shows you that you have plenty of time to cover different areas before it gets too dark.

The 2 pictures below are iPhone pictures shot with the Instagram app - the best photo app on the iPhone in my opinion - a shame they got acquired by Facebook...