Multiple - Fragmented Exposures

Discussion in 'Talk About Techniques' started by Ian Grant, Jan 17, 2018.

  1. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    This is a technique for portraying movement useful with trees, water, clouds etc, instead of a blur you get small incemental steps.

    [​IMG]

    Essentially you need a filter to increase the exposure times this could be a Neutral Density filter, a Polariser, or any deep filter that increases the Exposure factor. I tend to use a Green filter as it also separates the greens when there's foliage/leaves etc.

    The idea is to use a series of shorter exposures to build up to the desired exposure the only problem is the exposures are prone to reciprocity failure so the sum needs to be greater than the whole, I usually aim for about half a stop but the more individual exposures the greater the increase needed. This is similar to using multiple flash exposures.

    So an example might be a 1 second exposure at f22 is needed, we could break that down into six at 1/8 and 3 at 1/4 that's a total of 1.5 seconds. You need a good rigid tripod and camera particularly if you're changing shutter speeds, and careful re-cocking of the shutter. A Prontor or similar press shutter would be ideal but I've had no issues with my Wista 45DX and Copal shuttered lenses. You can uses so many different combinations of speeds and numbers of exposure it's a technique with numerous possibilities. It's not one I use a lot but when I have it's always succeeded.

    [​IMG]

    You can use a similar technique for still lives adding or subtracting components between the exposures, John Blakemore did this in his Chimerical Landscapes around 1990 published in Inscape, I'm lucky enough to have a print from this series.

    Ian
     
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  2. David M

    David M Well-Known Member Registered User

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    Yes, I've seen those pictures. He was using the technique to add controlled transparency, but it's very subtle.
    It's good to see John's work cited on this forum, more often than AA, who is invoked to the point of tedium on transatlantic sites.
     
  3. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Admin Staff Member Registered User

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    1/8=0.125
    0.125 x 6 = 0.75

    1/4=0.25
    0.25 x 3 = 0.75

    0.75 + 0.75 = 1.5

    Mathematics was never my strong point but I understand this now :)

    is it just experience that tells you how to slice up the exposures. I ask because given the above example, I would have gone straight to 13 exposures at 1/8th and not even thought about throwing 1/4 of a second into the mix.
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    It's not a technique I actually use very often but it's always worked I doubt I've used this more than a dozen times. I do prefer longer exposures to get a little movement in grasses/trees etc but it needs to be quite windy for these fragmented exposures.

    I just chose how I fragment the exposure depending on the mood and feel of the location and the actual length of a single exposure, gut instinct.

    Ian
     
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  5. Alan Clark

    Alan Clark Member Registered User

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    I once spoke to John Blakemore about his use of multiple exposures. As one would expect from him, he wasn't simply applying this technique for the sake of it. He told me that he was interested in the idea of nature as energy. This led him to make a lot of photographs of a small stream , Linch Clough, in the Peak District, using long exposures to show the movement in water. But when he tried to capture this movement, this energy, by photographing trees on a windy day, he ran into a problem. He told me that he would set everything up for a single long exposure. But when he fired the shutter the wind would suddenly stop blowing and the leaves and branches would stop moving. So he hit on the idea of using multiple short exposures, each made when the wind actually was blowing. I believe he used up to 30 short exposures, and a neutral density filter.
    I think he called these photographs his "Wind series", and they were made at Ambergate in Derbyshire. I think these are the most beautiful and compelling of all his works, and the fact that the trees were Silver Birches helps a lot. The photographs do have a lovely silvery quality to them.

    Alan
     
  6. David M

    David M Well-Known Member Registered User

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    Yes.
    If you stand quietly in a wood, you realise that wind comes in lumps. You can track the progress of the next lump by ear and by watching distant leaves spring into life and quieten again. Intermittent exposure will catch the still moments, too. I'm never happy with re-cocking the shutter so I haven't done this much. I have tried holding the slide in front of the lens, but that's not very satisfactory either. I suppose my Polaroid self-cocking shutter might work, but I haven't tried it.
     
  7. martin-f5

    martin-f5 Active Member Registered User

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    you're may be interested in this video with JB,
     
  8. Alan Clark

    Alan Clark Member Registered User

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    Martin, thank you. Fascinating to watch.

    Alan
     
  9. David M

    David M Well-Known Member Registered User

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    Here's an account of a recent workshop with John.
    http://scenictraverse.com/blog/2015/5/26/inside-the-darkroom-with-john-blakemore

    If you get the chance, go on a workshop with John. A workshop is not a classroom so who won't be taught anything as such, but when you leave and in the months that follow, you will discover that you have learned a great deal. He is also a very perceptive and generous critic of others' work.
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    I did a long weekend workshop with John at Duckspool about 30 years ago. Even Fay Godwin did a workshop with John although a little earlier. Definitely worthwhile although it didn't change my approach at all instead reinforcing that I was already going in the right direction.

    Ian
     
  11. David M

    David M Well-Known Member Registered User

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    Let me tell you the most important secret I learned from John.
    He put his negative in the top of the enlarger.
    AND SO DID I.
    He focused and framed the image.
    JUST I DID.
    He made test strips.
    I MADE TEST STRIPS.
    He put the paper underneath.
    ME TOO.
    He switched on the enlarger and switched it off again.
    JUST LIKE ME.
    He dodged and burned, using his hands, which enchanted many of the watchers.
    I used a card, and I didn't change to hands afterwards.
    He was very, very picky over his two-bath development.
    Alas, I remained more slovenly and eventually migrated to digital printing.

    In short, everything that he did, I could do; there were no secrets at all.
    Encouraging and dismaying at the same time.
     
  12. Alan Clark

    Alan Clark Member Registered User

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    John's photographs, his working methods and his eloquent description of his all-round approach to photography, are all so compelling. It is easy to see how he could easily beguile someone into following his example, especially if that person is unsure of how to proceed in photography. So if there is a secret thing to be learned from John, it is to take it all in, but at the end of the day follow your own instincts; as John has done himself.

    Alan
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    For those who can't get to do a workshop with John his book "John Blakemore's Black and White Photography Workshop" is worth buying.

    I was lucky to get a copy of his Photographs 1955-2010 last year from someone on another forum, so have all his books, and three prints.

    Ian
     
  14. David M

    David M Well-Known Member Registered User

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    No harm in being influenced. The history of creative practice is a history of influences. People go on workshops for many reasons. Some as a retreat from ordinary life, some expecting to find the magic bullet, some to meet a favourite photographer. They are always mixed ability groups and for some, this will be the first time they have seen a "fine" print. Some are dissatisfied with their current photographic life and hoping to be liberated from the tyranny of the club easel.
    Some may be refugees from academia, where the photograph itself is ignored (as bourgeois formalism) and the objects and persons within are subjected to sociological, feminist and political analysis.
    May I suggest that the effect of the workshops run by Paul Hill and Peter Goldfield was to free many British photographers from both club and reportage constraints and allow a thousand flowers to bloom.
    Subsequently, the digital revolution has shaken things up again. How is it that Big Stopper is the most popular phrase in discussions of photography?
     
  15. martin-f5

    martin-f5 Active Member Registered User

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    Could some one ask him for a large format group workshop in norther UK?
    That would be a event I really would love to take part.
     
  16. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    Peter Goldfield had of course assisted Minor White for a year and had seen how US workshops were run. Both Paul and Peter and their guest workshop leaders strove to encourage individuality from the workshop participants. This seems to be sadly lacking in most current workshops which turn out clones of the workshop leaders.

    Ian
     
  17. Alan Clark

    Alan Clark Member Registered User

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    What John Blakemore has been able to do is produce photographs that express how he feels about the world rather than simply show what the world looks like. As a painter as well as a photographer I know that this is easier to do with paint than with a camera. If a workshop with Blakemore helps you towards personal expression, then it would definitely be worth doing. Not that there is anything wrong with making photographs which show what things look like.... The whole creative business does get complicated! The Blakemore mini-workshop I once attended certainly made you question and re-assess everything you were doing. A very worthwhile exercise, if not exactly an easy one to deal with.

    Alan
     
  18. David M

    David M Well-Known Member Registered User

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    Martin,
    A workshop would probably be in Derby or nearby.
    My URL post yesterday might lead somewhere, perhaps. Is John using LF these days?
     
  19. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Admin Staff Member Registered User

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    John is now on Twitter for those that use it

    https://twitter.com/JohnBlakemore36
     
  20. PaulBJE

    PaulBJE New Member Registered User

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    How does the reciprocity calculation work for multiple exposures? Do you calculate the base exposure then add for reciprocity and divide by the number of exposures or divide the base exposure by the number of exposures and then add for reciprocity for each one?

    Presumably if for the latter and each exposure was less than 1 sec. there would be no reciprocity adjustment required?

    Paul
     

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