Freeman Patterson Made Me Do It

Originally posted 10/22/11, almost exactly eight years ago. The three quotes at the end of the post are still true.

Multiple Exposures

can change the Ordinary

into the Extraordinary

Autumn Leaves

Taken on my daily walk

Small vertical pan up & down, 10 exposures

Technical – Nikon D300, Nikon 35mm 1.8, 1/10 sec, f/5.6, EV=+2/3, ISO400, WB=Cloudy, multi-segment metering, aperture priority, RAW capture, circular polarizer, hand-held; 10 exposures made in a continuous high speed burst while holding down the shutter release

  • I normally do these by tipping my tripod back & forth
  • My multiples often look “mechanical”; handheld is an attempt to remedy this
  • Exposures combined in camera (Nikon only until now; the new $7K Canon adds a multiple exposure feature)
  • Read this for an automated Photoshop technique for combining exposures if your camera can’t (plus further references to much more about multiple exposures)
  • Experimenting with the 35mm 1.8 lens; branches are about 2-3 feet away


  • Portrait orientation – that’s how trees grow, vertically
  • Three layers – leaves on ground, grass, leaves on trees
  • I had to crouch (camera height 3′)  to get the green layer; otherwise all yellow = no good
  • Trunks, moving away on a diagonal, to connect the layers


1. Photoshop Elements/Adobe Camera RAW for RAW conversion

2. Tonal & color contrast adjustments in Color Efex Pro 4 using my custom designed recipe for basic image post processing

  Recipe Step-by-step detailed illustration in this post

Freeman Patterson has inspired much of what I do photographically – including my enjoyment of multiple exposure images.

  • Totally by accident, when I was starting out in 2002-3, I came across a reference to one of his books – bought it and, as they say, the rest is history.
  • For me, the inspiration is as much from his philosophy of life and how that relates to his photography as it is about the nuts & bolts of photography.
  • If you look at his work expecting to find the stereotypical pretty pictures & photo icons you may be disappointed. However, if you’re willing to study images and think a little, you’re likely to understand and be moved/inspired.
  • The following is the opening of his “Art Statement” –

Every artist is, first of all, a craftperson thoroughly knowledgeable about the materials, tools, and techniques of his or her particular medium and skilled in using many of them.
However, in my view, no amount of technical knowledge and competence is, of itself, sufficient to make a craftperson into an artist. That requires caring — passionate caring about ultimate things.”

This same message is repeated over & over for art of every form –

Without passion, all the skill in the world won’t lift you above craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. Combining the two is the essence of the creative life.
-Twyla Tharp, Dance

A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.
– Paul Cezanne , Painting

There must be a lesson in there somewhere.

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