For the longest time, many photographers considered multiple exposure ‘kinda cool, but not something I would ever use.’ Well, times have changed, and so has multiple exposure camera technique. First, the cameras now do all the formulas and merging in camera for you. And not only that, the cameras offer different exposure blending modes…you can choose highlights, shadows or average merging options. My Nikon camera not only combines the single images into the one final shot, but also retains the RAW files that make up the shot. These are all good things and much needed advancements in multiple exposure.
But how do you really use this technique. Here is an example. Last week Cree and I were photographing fall color near Ouray, Colorado. Red mountain pass was peak, and crystal lake looked really nice for a reflection shot. But when we arrived, the wind was howling…25knots and stronger were reported in town. Every sensible photographer was headed to their cars, the lake was solid white caps and water was splashing far up onto the shore. But if there is one thing I have learned through the years its this; don’t go against nature, go with it. What opportunity did these high wind conditions offer? I looked at the fast moving cumulus clouds zipping across the sky, and knew the answer. I was going to shoot long exposure images using my Singh-Ray 10 stop ND filter, and use multiple exposure to combine 3 or more of them for one dramatic image. I took a single one minute exposure shot, and the clouds looked good. But I wanted more streaks, so I did a three frame multiple exposure shot, each image one minute long. My Z7 combined the shots in camera, and the final result is at the top of this blog.
Just remember we get thrown many curve balls as photographers, almost always something isn’t like we hoped for and expected. These are the times to try something different, and maybe you will get an image you never thought possible. Multiple exposure is one of those techniques that is changing how I photograph in the field.