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Multi-Exposure

by Uwe Heimburger

More than 35 years ago I experimented with double exposures using my ME Super.

One recent evening I thought I’d like to see what I can get with this technique taking pictures of a flower. But I wasn’t satisfied with the results … and forgot to deactivate this mode.

So next day at the zoo I accidentally produced this pictures as DNG raw files … 

Buffalo & Pony

Following two captures made through a window pane with K-1 in APSC mode using DA55-300PLM at different focal lengths.

Big Catch

Seal, Seagull & Cat fishing

Mixed Flowers

Glowing

Glowing II

Flower & Bush

The special thing with digital multi-exposure mode is that it’s different to HDR or PSR mode. In HDR mode three and in PSR mode four raw captures are packed into a DNG container that also includes a generated jpg preview image.

In digital multi-exposure mode the captures are mixed up into one raw image capture similar how it is with film. But in digital you can choose between three „mix methods“: average, additiv and bright. I chose additive which I think simulates the film multi-exposure.

A next experiment was to merge a black & white and color profile image. Boom. The camera (firmware Vs. 1.43) stuck!

I had to remove the batterie to get the camera working again. Then I changed the sequence - first color, second black & white. Same problem! So my conclusion is that we can't mix color profiles in multi-exposure mode to get a "mixed" raw file. It even leads to an unexpected reproducible camera error - at least with my K-1!

Some more general thoughts about the camera multi-exposure technique:

  • Lighting and composition are a real challenge. Dark background helps to separate multi-exposed subjects.
  • To get a dark background full control of light could be suitable. Strong underexposure plus use of flash or permanent light source are a technique to get this.
  • Also night photography may be a good application.
  • „Buffalo & Pony“ showed me that going black & white in post processing eliminates color distraction and helps to blend sceneries seamlessly. Look at the fur of the pony and buffalo!
  • Concerning composition for precise work the different grids of the live view display should be very convenient.

IMO a very interesting topic to produce artwork. But of course it‘s easier to combine separate exposures in post using masks etc. Guess I never thought that detailed about it.

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