Here's Why You Should Blend Short and Long Exposures

What do you do if what you want necessitates a long exposure but external factors such as wind make that difficult? Well, lucky for you, this tutorial by Mike Ver Sprill will show you how to overcome that by blending shots made with both long and short exposure times.

Sometimes it's hard to have the best of both worlds, especially when you're dealing with other factors that are simply out of your control. You have a shot in mind, you've got the composition set up, you're ready to take the picture, and because of current conditions you find yourself stuck between the short exposure that keeps certain elements of your image sharp and the longer exposure which will smooth other portions of the image that you want smooth. Well, by taking the time on location to shoot several variations of the setup, you can then follow along with this tutorial which will help guide you towards using the key elements in each shot to create the results you had in mind when you first set up your tripod.

A couple things to note, particularly to make this tutorial useful. You will want to shoot on a tripod, especially if you're working with a wide-angle lens because even slightest amount of rotational movement can distort the image in enough ways to make it difficult to blend, hence why a tripod is suggested over handheld. You will want to use a remote trigger if at all possible, and try to set the camera to take the different shots all at once so that you don't have to touch the camera at all in between takes, which will again help you avoid any slight jarring of the camera which could create an alignment problem further down the road. From there, pay close attention to the fantastic tips and advice that are given in this video to help you make the most of each composition.

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David Penner's picture

I do this with most of my waterfall shots. Gives a unique look and helps with creating leading lines.

Ondrej Sisler's picture

IMHO the most difficult on this technique is to eliminate (or introduce?) any ND tint (ofc in case you used ND) in order to have the two exposures well balanced in terms of exposure and color ... or at least for me