Stacking Light Trails

Jackson Street Bridge at SunriseInstead of the usual sunsets, I'm shooting sunrises of late.

I'm an early riser, and I love to walk and get my daily exercise in the morning. Lately, Jack Bauer hasn't been excited about our morning walks. His preference seems to be evening walks. 

I know, I know. The dog isn't in charge.

But, seriously, I'm not going to drag my dog on a walk. After a few blocks, he plants his feet and refuses to go further. Sometimes he plants his feet and refuses to leave the front porch. It's ridiculous. There I am, standing in the middle of the Freedom Park Trail or on the sidewalk somewhere cajoling my dog into going a few more blocks.

I'm talking to him - out loud. "Come on, Bauer, a couple more blocks!"

I've been bringing him home and going back out on my own.

Art Photography

I digress.

Regular readers know I've I've been pushing my art photography in another direction. 

I love learning, and I especially love learning about photography and Photoshop. I find my technical limitations frustrating. A lot of my limitations are with Lightroom and storage and the best way to deal with cataloging and keeping track of my photos. There's so much to know in the digital world of photography. And that's not the part of my craft I want to spend time on. 

I love watching tutorials, playing with the tools and playing in Photoshop. I love experimenting with long exposures, focal length, and different types of shooting out in the field. 

The above photo was taken at sunrise at, you guessed it, the iconic Jackson Street Bridge. My friend, Lauren, and I decided to get out early for a sunrise shoot. It's nice having a friend who lives close by who also loves to go out to shoot.

Unfortunately, we didn't pick the best day for a sunrise. 

Composite Photos

This isn't really one photo.

It's a composite of 10 photos.

I edited each of the 10 for color, highlights, shadows, contrast, etc. Then I opened the photos as layers in Photoshop. Using the "lighten" blend mode brings out the light trails from each individual photo. Then I merged the layers and did more editing. 

I shot the photos on a tripod since it was still pretty dark out when I took them. Shooting on a tripod also allows for compositing. If you don't shoot with a tripod, the photos won't line up, so they won't merge well. Photoshop even refuses to merge some photos if they don't line up correctly. 

Another Jackson Street Bridge sunrise

I'm working on getting a more painterly look to my photos, but I don't always achieve the look I have in my mind. I didn't like the sky in the photo with the light trails but I didn't have a photo of the sky that worked well with this, so I left it the way it was.

I like it when there's a lot of clouds and texture in the sky. Although there's something dramatic about a completely cloudless, flat blue sky as well.

I was happy with the light trails.  

I played with curves, gradients, and two-tone in the smaller photo. It was much lighter out by the time I shot the second one, and it wasn't taken on the tripod. Sunrise happens quickly, and we weren't out there long before the sun was up, and the light was terrible.

It was a quick early-morning shoot that resulted in a few usable photos. 

2019 Calendar

I'm almost done creating my 2019 photo calendar! I'll let you know when I'm ready for preorders. 

I hope you're having a productive week!

I'm getting lots done!

See you between the raindrops!