Behind The Shot

Happy Trails

Living Art
Tiles: Nikon D850, 28-300mm Nikon lens @ F7.1, 1/160s, ISO1600, 85mm
Trees: Nikon D850, 28-300mm Nikon lens @ F7.1, 1/8000s, ISO1600, 44mm

with Ann Kilpatrick

Ann, Tell us about yourself and your journey into photography so far…

I retired in June 2019 and have been able to spend a lot more time on photography as a result. I have always photographed the candid moments going on around me. As I age, those recorded moments become more precious for the memories they evoke.

I bought a DSLR in 2015, so to make best use of that investment, I have been actively learning about photography, online, in the classroom at structured courses, and at workshops.

How would you describe your photography, is there a genre you’re most passionate about?

I think my style is still evolving as I am very much still learning. As above, I enjoy photographing the candid moments that occur around our property, within our family, and out on the street. My photography is simple, I try to make the subject obvious and to create a good quality image.

I am enjoying learning how to use my camera more creatively and to manipulate images in Photoshop. I am still very much a learner in this regard. However, it is very therapeutic to make an image which tells a story through photography and helps one to move forward in a more positive frame of mind.

What are you shooting with?

I shoot with a Nikon D850 and various lenses: 50mm prime, 16-35mm, 105mm prime and a very flexible 28–300mm. I practice with a specific lens consistently for a while to best understand what I can do with it.

I have a set of Benro filters which I don’t use often enough and various CPL and other filters. I borrow my husband’s Manfrotto tripod a lot and there’s also a Godox flash that I need to master.

Tell us about your photo, ‘Living Art’

This photo is a multiple exposure made in camera. My camera will allow me to make a series of images with a range of multiple exposures in each image. Often, I will set my camera to make a series of multiple images with usually two exposures in each image. Then I will shoot away and review the multiple exposures later to see what images I made, essentially by chance, that I like, or which ones “worked”.

For this image I liked the look of the tiles on the wall and decided to try a more deliberate approach for multiple exposure. I shot the tiles and then selected “multiple exposure mode” selecting the tiles as my “first exposure”. My camera gives me a choice of overlay modes: Add, Average, Lighten or Darken. This meant I could take the first exposure of the tiles, then go outside and shoot a range of images using the tiles as the first exposure and various plants and trees in our garden as the second exposure. Using the “select first exposure” option, and my preferred overlay mode, I had more control over the composition and look of the final image.

I was deliberately trying to learn and apply a new way of working as I made this image, and I had been thinking about the tiles and potential images that might work with them for a while. It was a process of trial and error and applying my camera to blend art and nature in a way that worked for me and created the image I had imagined in my head.

What editing did you do to the final image?

I didn’t do much editing at all, mainly just used the standard sliders in Lightroom, increasing the whites and reducing the highlights, adding some clarity and dehaze, some sharpening and some noise reduction. I also removed some spots off the wall.

How happy are you with this multiple exposure, is there anything you would do differently?

I am reasonably happy with the image given I was trying to learn a new process. It worked as I envisioned and I will probably use the “select first exposure“ option more often in the future, instead of mostly shooting multiple exposures at random and hoping I will get a “lucky shot” that I like. Of course, I would probably also try to get the tiles straighter if giving this another go!

What tips can you share with readers for achieving a similar shot?

Check to see if you can easily make multiple exposures in camera with the model that you have. Try the different overlay modes to learn how they impact your image. This might also help you to understand some of the blend modes in Photoshop.

Have fun, experiment with your camera - turn on the multiple exposure mode and shoot away to see what comes up. Then, once you understand what your camera can do, be more deliberate.

Where can we find you online?