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Stacking Images/ND Filters

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 1:58 PM


The difference between a boring image and a striking one can often be as simple as applying a few basic techniques. The image in color was taking at high noon with the camera setting at f/16, 100th sec. at ISO 100. This could've easily been taken by tourist hand holding a camera. It is very unlikely that I would hang this picture on my wall. 

The Black and White image, which I believe is much more interesting, was photographed a few minutes later only this time I used a tripod, a 10 stop neutral density filter, with the camera setting f/16, 30 second exposure at ISO 100.  Instead of exposing one images, I exposed 18 different images (I was trying for 20 but lost count) and then using Photoshop I combined the images into one final image to give a total of a nine minute exposure.  Without a ND filter you would be be able to get a shutter speed at high noon slow enough to get any significant movement in the clouds. 

To stack a series of images into one, I start in Adobe Bridge. (You can do this from Lightroom as well)  I select the images that I what to stack, then go to Tools/Photoshop/Load Files into Photoshop layers.  Depending on the number of images, and their size this may take a minute or two.  Now that you are in Photoshop, select all the layers and Right Click and choose Load layers into a Smart Object.  Again, depending on the number and size of your images this may take a minute.  Now go to Layers/Smart Objects/Stack Mode/Mean.  Photoshop will now combine all the images into one final one.  It’s that simple!  



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