Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Time Stack at Sunset

Original View
I have done time stacking to produce star trails, but have not use the technique for daytime photography.  I read a tutorial on time stack by Matt Molloy http://500px.com/blog/1051/tutorial-time-stack and decided to try this out myself, since it looked interesting.  My first attempt did not work well because there was not many clouds and they were not moving.  Last evening, there were more clouds in the sky, so I decided I would try again.  First question was where to go?  My grandson, who was coming with me said let's go somewhere different.  I opened up The Photographer's Ephemeris on my computer and looked for an area that would give us a view over water.  I decided on Lake Nippenicket in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.  By the way The Photographer's Ephemeris is it great tool to help you decide on locations and sunrises and sunsets.  It is free to use on your computer and it is also available as a App on android and Apple devices.

After we parked the car in the parking lot took our equipment down to the water.  The view was excellent.  I set up my camera, leveled it, made sure that everything was in focus, took the camera off auto-focus. My settings were in manual mode, low ISO, and set the exposure so that the clouds were not overexposed, since when I stack the pictures, I did not want pure white in the clouds.  Since I use a Nikon camera, which has a built in intervelometer, my settings were to take one picture every five seconds.  If you use a Canon camera, you will have to use and external wired intervelometer.

I took a series of photographs until the sun was behind the low bank of clouds on the horizon.  At that point I stopped the camera, reposition it and took another series of photographs as the sky turned blue and the top of the cloud bank was glowing from the sun.

After downloading the pictures into Lightroom and examining them, because the clouds were slowly, I selected every sixth picture of the first set for a total of 11 and exported them into Photoshop in layers.  My next step was to select all the layers except the bottom one, and change the mode from normal to lighting.  Liking what I saw on my computer screen, I flattened the layers, then duplicated the layer and ran adjustments on that layer, utilizing Camera Raw, Topaz, Clarity and Detail to give me the picture that I wanted.

First picture of the series with no adjustments
Sunset and clouds stacked

For the second set, I selected every other photograph for a total of 10 and then followed the same technique that I did for the first set.

First picture of the series with no adjustments
Sunset and clouds stacked
I like the way the pictures turned out and will continue to experiment more with this technique.

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