Let me first clarify the term “multiple exposures.” Yes, I know, all you photographers out there know exactly what I am referring to when mentioning “exposure.” However, since my last blog post, and the fact that I will be using photos from the Longford Show, there may be a handful of “show-jumpers” that may also read this blog. The clarification of the term is solely for their benefit. “Multiple exposures” does not imply me wearing a trenchcoat and exposing my tidbits multiple times to the unwary passerby. Although tempting as it may be, the term “exposure” however is simply another word for a photograph.
After last week’s revelation – that is show-jumping, I spent most of the week thinking about how I could approach the subject a little more creatively. Something a little more challenging. Landscape photographers often use multiple exposures which they later “stitch” together using photo-editing software to create “panorama.” Wildlife and sports photographers on the other hand often use “burst” or “continuous mode” to capture fast-paced action or moving subjects. So why not try to combine the two?
The theory seemed sound.
First and foremost a tripod is essential. “Panning” while following the action doesn’t usually require a tripod. However, I knew I that needed to stitch multiple exposures together later using software. By keeping the camera level and being able to maintain the same “plane” for each shot, I knew would make the stitching process a lot easier.
It was also essential to keep the same aperture, shutter speed and focal length for all shots. I set my shutter speed first (to freeze the action) and adjusted my aperture and ISO accordingly using the camera’s metering system.
I set the camera’s focus mode to AI Servo and drive to “continuous” mode.
All that I needed then was to follow each rider, firing off multiple shots, leading to, and including the jump itself and follow through.
These are the four images I decided to use. At this point, these are RAW images, unedited, straight out of the camera (except for a few Lightroom Presets applied during import.)
The first shot leading to the jump:
Shot 2, the jump itself:
And finally Shot 4, the completion of the jump:
Bringing out the Magic
Once I have imported these multiple exposures into Lightroom I make sure that any global change made to one image, has to be applied to all four images. To begin with, I adjust the white balance and tweak the highlights and shadows. Next, I adjust the camera calibration, enable lens corrections such as chromatic aberration and enable lens profile corrections. I make sure there is no automatic sharpening applied to the images. I usually do apply some noise reduction at this point.
The idea is to have these images look bland and without contrast.
The next step is to stitch the first (shot 1), and last (shot 4) photographs in the sequence together into a panorama. You cannot stitch all four images together because some parts of the images will overlap, and that will just look weird. The remaining two shots need to be blended in using “masks”
At this point, I switch over to photoshop and blend the remaining two images into the panorama. This part is extremely time-consuming. Every inch of the image has to blend in perfectly. This process usually takes me about two to three hours, a couple of Tequila shots, several bathroom visits before I get the image to the point where I am happy.
Now I can start using luminosity masks to bring back colour, contrast and detail back into the image. I also make use of adjustment brushes to target specific areas.
It is at this point that I wish I knew who the @%!# this young lass riding this beautiful horse was. ( I am keeping this PG because I believe my mother-in-law reads my blogs. PS thanks for the rock cakes mum.)
As I was saying, I wish I knew who this lovely lass was so I could at least get some appreciation for my efforts – or ways to improve – something……
Ok, so once that was done, I wanted to bring out the “closet” artist in me. Bring out more “finesse,” more subtlety. However, for anyone that knows me…..I have the “subtlety” of a sledgehammer and the “finesse” of an anvil.
So please guys, let me know what you think.
An HDR rendition:
Impressionistic, the way Van Gogh would see the same image:
I clearly have too much time on my hands.
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