A Couple Composites

I went for another walk last week at Orlando Wetlands Park with Tom M.  It was a pretty morning and in addition to the normal bird suspects, we also saw Soras, Purple Gallinules, and heard reports of Bald Eagles and many Black Crowned Night Herons.

In this post though, I want to discuss compositing.  Wikipedia says:

Compositing is the combining of visual elements from separate sources into single images, often to create the illusion that all those elements are parts of the same scene.”

Multiple exposures are a subset of compositing, and are much easier to produce in today’s world of digital photography.  In addition to creating an illusion, they can be used to show things that are difficult for a camera to capture in a single frame and better show reality.  Examples are panoramas, focus stacking, HDR, etc.

There’s a lovely Pink Trumpet tree on the west side of the main path into the park.  It’s in bloom and that morning the moon was setting behind the tree.  This snap from my iPhone shows how the tree looked against the sky and moon.

Moon behind Pink Trumpet tree
Moon behind Pink Trumpet tree

I wanted to isolate one bloom with the moon and clouds behind it, but the depth of field with my telephoto lens was too shallow to show both in the same frame.  So I made two,  with one focused on the flower and the second on the clouds / moon.  Then in Photoshop it was relatively easy to combine the two frames to show what I wanted.

Moon, clouds, and flowerMoon, clouds, and flower

Here’s a second example:

Ibis flight sequenceIbis flight sequence

This one is from a sequence of a single White Ibis flying by in a little under 2 seconds.  I brought all 25 frames into Photoshop on separate  layers and aligned them.  Then I used the focus select function to mask the birds from each layer into a single composite.  I ended up having to omit every other frame to avoid overlapping birds.

If you’re willing to dive into Photoshop or any other image editing software that offers layers and masking, you can do the same sort of work.  Think about techniques like these when you’re out photographing.  If you capture the source frames you need when you’re out, then when you get back to your computer you can use them to solve problems and enhance your creativity.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. Now, go make some multiple exposure photos!

©2017, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved


6 thoughts on “A Couple Composites

  1. Amazing photos as always Ed! Especially love the Ibis Flight sequence! Wish you were here, we have two bald eagles that keep landing on our and our neighbors roofs. I try to capture them on my iPhone and though I have, they come out too dark and just do not see them very well. I love watching them and listening to the two of the squawking at one another. They are amazing creatures and have such huge wing spans. I am just not an experienced photographer like you nor have the equipment. I enjoy your photo blog and keeping up with your adventures and wonderful photos! Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Michelle!

      Phone photos of eagles is a very tough assignment! I’m not sure what hints to give you about it. Birds in general almost always require a telephoto lens.


  2. So many folks seem to go overboard with their criticism of Photoshop, your article was a great example of a positive and creative use of Photoshop. Nicely done Ed…now I want to try it myself!

    1. Thanks, Jeff.

      Photography (and processing) is an individual preference. I think people should do what they want. Constructive criticism should be offered if requested. If it’s not sought out, then instead of criticizing, people should spend their time making images. Just my $0.02.

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