Tuesday, November 27, 2012
A Rose By Any Other Name...
Many Images, One Frame • Panoramas • Silent All The Time • Camera Dynamic Range • Two Great Winter Breaks
Many Images, One Frame
Q I have one of the new Canon cameras that allows multiple captures on a single frame. How can I use this feature in a creative way?
Via the Internet
A The multiple-exposure capability is featured on recent Canon cameras (the EOS 5D Mark III and the EOS-1D X) and on many Nikon and Pentax bodies. The idea is to allow the photographer to take a series of digital captures (maximum nine for Canon, 10 for Nikon) on the same frame. This isn't a new idea; professional film cameras had this capability decades ago. Before this feature was added to DSLRs, we were limited to taking a number of separate captures on separate frames, then compositing them into a single image in the computer with post-capture processing. Now we have the advantage of experimenting with multiple-exposure imaging in real time; we can view the result on the camera's LCD screen immediately, make adjustments and do it all over again in the field until we get it right. With film, the process required the photographer to calculate the exposure of each capture with a view toward achieving correct overall exposure in the composite. In today's DSLRs with multiple-exposure capability, the camera makes these adjustments based upon variables the photographer has preselected.
My favorite application of this feature is a tried-and-true technique I often used with film. With the camera mounted on a tripod, I take my first exposure focused sharply on the subject and then take a second out-of-focus exposure. In the resulting image, the subject is sharply rendered, but has a subtle, softening halo around it. It's an especially beautiful effect with portraits and flowers. The amount of "unfocus" is an experimental thing that can be seen on the back of the camera and adjusted for subsequent captures; you can view each composite between captures—that is, as it's building.
Another interesting option is the ability to compile various disparate elements into a single composition by recalling an image on the CF card and layering additional captures on the frame, such as adding a big fake moon to a landscape. From a tripod, multiple photographs of a waterfall could be captured at a fast shutter speed to smooth the rendering of the water without losing detail. Multiple individual flowers can be photographed on the same frame to create a design element. Just from these few ideas, it should be apparent that the multiple-exposure capability is a strong creative tool—but also one that will further exacerbate the suspicion with which all digital nature photography is viewed.
Q When capturing panoramas, some photographers orient their cameras in the vertical and others in the horizontal position. Is there an advantage to one position over the other?
Via the Internet
A The decision to capture a panorama with the camera in the horizontal or vertical position is an example of the benefits of "previsualization," where concepts applied at capture expand a photographer's options for interpretation of a subject.
When the eventual goal is to generate a large print, a horizontal panorama of a wide subject or scene (think vast landscape) should be captured in vertical segments to maximize the vertical pixel count (the height of the finished image) and the overall size of the file. Conversely, a vertical panorama of a tall, narrow subject or scene (e.g., a tree) should be captured in horizontal segments.
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