The Inner Harbor at Baltimore shot at dusk in early June. This image is a composite of 82 separate images shot on a tripod, each image taken approximately two to three seconds apart. In post-processing, the images are stacked in Photoshop and then merged, allowing the motion from each image to give the effect of a long exposure. Long exposures are a great way to create that dreamy effect, but when you don't have the proper neutral density filters on you, or the light is just too intense to get a three-or four-minute exposure, this stacking method is great.

 

Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia, Canada. 

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The Pier at Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina.

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Composite Portraits

The portraits were shot in a room with controlled continuous lighting against a white wall. Two lights were placed behind the subject throwing harsh, direct light on each side of the face and on the shoulders. Two more lights were places on each side of the front of the subject, Continuous lights were used rather than strobes. Continuous lighting is not as strong and requires larger apertures and longer shutters, but it is easy to visualize the image because you can see exactly what the camera is going to record. If you don't like the light, move it around until you like what you see. The images were edited in Adobe Camera Raw before making final tweaks in Photoshop. The subjects were then extracted from the background and placed on the backgrounds. The light in the backgrounds was manipulated and the streaks of light added.The extraction method utilized the quick select tool and the selection was outputted with a layer mask for further refinements. This was the longest part of the process. Realistic extractions take time, lots of time, and lots of refinements.

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Motion in the Clouds.... Without the long Exposure

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Shot at Bitter Lake NWR, these simulated long-exposure images are the result of merging 48 separate images together. With the camera on a tripod, the images were shot through a polarizer filter. The exposures were about five seconds apart. For each image, all the sequence photos were opened in Adobe Camera Raw and edited. Clarity was nearly maxed out, sharpness was added, and the blue channel was brought down until the sky was nearly black. Then the images were stacked in Photoshop and converted into a smart object. Using a "mean" blend, the motion in the clouds was assembled into one photo. For complete instructions, watch for the upcoming video.