Over the last 6 months or so a number of photographic ideas sort of came to a crossroads for me. As you might know, I do a lot of time lapse photography, but I have also been playing around with some long exposure and star trail photography lately. All this sort of came together for me this weekend when I was down in Oregon shooting in the Columbia River Gorge and made this image of some swirling clouds over the Columbia River.
You might ask how all of these different photographic things came together for this image, let me try to explain. This image is actually a combination of 349 images stacked together as separate layers in Photoshop, which obviously comes from my shooting this scene for the purpose of putting a time lapse video together. While I was shooting this scene as a time lapse with my Nikon D7000, I also shot it with my D600 using a Lee Big Stopper 10 stop ND filter but the clouds simply were not moving as much as I wanted and I was somewhat disappointed in those images. After I got home and started putting the time lapse video together it dawned on me that I actually had a VERY long exposure, about 30 minutes in this case, if I were to put all those images together into a single frame. The only thing is that I wasn’t sure how to put all those images together, but as I was thinking about it I realized that this really isn’t much different than taking a bunch of star trail images and stacking them together with the “lighten” blending mode in Photoshop. I gave that a try and came up with something that I really liked, the above image.
I plan on doing more of this, I am already shooting time lapse sequenced frequently, I might as well work those same captures into something more. This image was an experiment, and while I am very pleased with it, there are a few things I want to try differently next time, and will share those ideas if they actually work.