Blending Time

I previously mentioned somewhere in this site that I wanted to build this blog to not only serve as a travel site but also like an online lab book of all the different styles or techniques that I’ve come across and (maybe) tried. I’ve eventually be adding more to this category as I start to remember the different styles.

So to currently travel back to the present, and add the first entry, this style consists of blending multiple images over the course of a day, to create a transitional effect as shown below. Although the photo itself is unimpressive, I like the idea behind it if you can find a an object of interest that has an interesting development over time, such as rotting food, or sunrise->day->sunset. I would really like to do the former, since I made myself a box studio, but I think my roommate would oppose to rotting food in the flat…

BLUE TO BLACK – This is the transition of the sky in my flat on a good day; short period of blue skies to a dreary gray overcast

This method would be much better if the sky colours would be more dramatic, going from blue, to pink, to orange then black, and if the scene itself would be more interesting. But unfortunately, this was actually done on one of the ‘better days’ in my town (see the blue skies?? that comes like once a week!). The photos are also taken over a long time, so you need to be stationary.

At any rate, the way this method is done is definitely with a tripod and an intervalometer. For the latter, I used Sofortbild; a nice simple clean-cut app for the mac. I set the photos to be taken ever 30minutes. The time period should change depending on the scene (e.g. rotting food will take a few days so the intervals of shooting should be separated by days and not just a few minutes).

The camera setup was at f/11, set on aperture mode, and an exposure setting of +2. The former was used because I wanted to have everything in focus and reduce the distortion due to high apertures (I guess I could have gone up to f/16). And because I wanted to focus on the change of the sky, I light metered off the sky to ensure it would never be blown out. I would step down the exposure in the post processing if needed. A polarizer was also used to reduce the reflection on the window.

The way the photos were assembled:
– The images were imported into photoshop as separate layers
– The layers were then aligned (Edit -> Auto-Align Layers) to adjust for any movement that may have occurred
– On each layer, add a layer-mask; this will let you adjust what’s visible from this layer. It is a grey scale mask where black indicates no visibility and white is full visibility

And that’s just about it, in terms of the technical aspect. The rest if all about creativity of how you decide to blend the layers. From my trial here, I found it best to be selective and not just have straight linear blends. For example, avoid having clouds in the middle of a transition. A better effect would be to keep the complete cloud in one photo, then just transition the background sky.

Come to think about it now that I’m done writing, I should have screen shotted each of the steps of the post processing…Oh well, for next time.


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