Quiet beauty…

I was in Patagonia just a few weeks ago and experienced amazingly powerful sunrises and sunsets that everyone, regardless of whether they are a photographer, delights in seeing. Grand scenes like these are so moving that they tend to overshadow the surrounding, yet more subtle, scenes of beauty. Breaking away from center stage, though tough, can oftentimes be worth it.

It was fall in Patagonia and every day we would hop on a bus, passing by the most delicate tree (according to our wonderful guide, a Sorbus) with pastel-covered leaves and bunches of berries hanging from it. I made time for the tree one evening, staying out a little later in the day to capture it. I tried to think of a creative way to photograph the beauty of the leaves. Time and again I am drawn to the multiple exposure feature of my camera, and this was yet another opportunity for this method to capture the beauty and etherealness of the leaves.

Mounted on a tripod, I set up the camera for multiple exposure, instructing it to combine the next two images into a single photograph. For the first image I shot the colorful grouping of leaves at f/4 to let some of the leaves in the background blur to deliciousness using autofocus. I then switched to manual focus and turned the focusing ring to take a completely blurry shot of the leaves in the exact same composition. The combined result is my featured image.

To use this technique repeatedly, you have to remember to go back into menu settings and select multiple exposure after each group of shots are taken, which is easy to forget. There is another camera feature that I love in my Nikon cameras called Image Overlay. It is the saving grace should you forget to set multiple exposure for every combined shot. Located in the Retouch Menu, it allows you choose two images from your cards to overlay. If shooting in RAW mode (which almost everyone should), it will even produce a separate/combined RAW file for the newly rendered image. Pretty nifty! This only works for two images, though. If you want to combine more than two photos you need to remember set multiple exposure mode or do the combining in post. I prefer to get the shot right in the camera.

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