Tag Archives: early photography

Matt Molloy on Time Stacking

Readers of this blog will know that I am a big fan of Matt Molloy’s time stacking technique. He has taken an approach developed by starcircleacademy.com for long  astro photography time lapses and reimagined it as an approach for clouds.

“my favorite is often what I call “time stacking”. This technique of layering multiple still photos has been used for years to create “stars trails” from timelapse sequences.”

Matt’s technique is described in a blog post published on 500px.com last year. Its a great read and provides some insight into this approach.

Tutorial: Time Stack:

Published by Alexandra Kim · March 7th 2014

 

Today I’d like to introduce the brilliant Matt Molloy, photography enthusiast and budding professional. He’s the author of those amazing impressionist inspired photos. So many people have asked how to do this technique, and he’s been gracious enough to share it here with us! Please enjoy this Time Stack Tutorial.

I’ve always been amazed by timelapse photography and the unique perspective of time it gives you. Once I got into photography, it was a natural direction for me to go. The more I explored timelapse photography, the more I realized how versatile it is. You can get so much out of a timelapse; an interesting video; the perfect shot (selected from several hundred photos of the same scene), enhanced details and distortion correction (often done in astrophotography); or removing elements from a scene (like cars or people). Last, but not least, my favorite is often what I call “time stacking”. This technique of layering multiple still photos has been used for years to create “stars trails” from timelapse sequences.

Here is an example of a “star trail” image I created from a series of 305 photos.

Once I made a few star trail images, I wondered why I’ve never seen this technique used on daylight timelapses. I tried it and, after a little tweaking here and there, I was astounded by the resulting images! They are kind of like a super long exposure, showing a large chunk of time in a single image, which is very much like the Impressionist movement that some clever painters came up with around the year 1870.

Here is my very first attempt at a daylight “timestack”.

Here’s what you need to make a “time stack” yourself:

  1. A camera and an intervalometer (a device to make your camera take pictures repeatedly at a given interval). If you have a Canon camera, like I do, there’s a good chance that you can download free software called Magic Lantern that gives you lots of new features including an intervalometer built right into your camera. Perhaps there’s similar software for other brands of cameras, and if not, most cameras will be able to use a remote control that includes intervalometer function. Here’s a bunch of different remotes.

Continue reading at 500px / Blog / Tutorial: Time Stack.

 

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Re-examining the Link Between the Rise of Photography and Impressionism

Photographic art is a reflection of current cultural influences and the technology available to the photographer. Pictorialists, the forerunners of photo impressionism were strongly influenced by the impressionist painters of their day. But did the influence go both ways? Were the Impressionists inspired by photography?  A recent exhibition of early photographs and impressionist paintings at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Art suggests they did.

I found the promotional material for the exhibition an interesting read. According to the UMMA’s web site:

“This exhibition advances a new argument for the origins of what was called “the new painting,” namely that a unique convergence of forces—social, artistic, technological, and commercial—along the Normandy coast of France dramatically transformed the course of photography and painting (as well as of the region itself). Within this framework, the invention of the camera and the development of early fine art photography in that particular setting will be seen as the specific catalysts that brought about a new approach to painting.”

Elsewhere the promotional material for the exhibition says:

“”After gazing at Monet’s or Courbet’s work, it’s a short step to grasp how photographers’ quest to “arrest motion” became aesthetically valid and how instantaneity captured their imagination, said McNamara.”

I am not sure that is really what was going on.  These photographers were not trying to arrest motion for its own sake. Like painters of their day they fought against the tools at hand to capture the essence of a their subject; and the technology at hand was limited, cumbersome and expensive. Remember that Eastman did not introduce a practical portable camera until about 1888.

Niagara-ahhinton-1904

It may be true that the photography en plein air challenged painters to do the same but I don’t agree that arresting motion was a factor.  For me the open question is whether the photographers of this period would have moved towards impressionistic images if they had access to better tools?  Was it a coincidence that Pictorialism traces its roots to about the time of the first Kodak?

“’The Lens of Impressionism’ is clearly an exhibition that draws on history, but raises contemporary issues,” said McNamara. “With the Internet and the proliferation of images in our culture, questions arise about originality. These were the same issues facing Impressionist artists working at a time when photography was influencing how they looked at the world.”

I like the ideas being explored here and would have liked to have seen the exhibition. You can read about it at Reexamining Link between Rise of Photography and Impressionism and at http://www.umma.umich.edu/view/past/2009-lens.html. The gallery guide can be seen at http://www.umma.umich.edu/view/past/Normandy_GalleryGuide.pdf