Freezing time

One of the cool things about digital photography is sometimes you just don’t know what you’re going to get when Photoshop finishes grinding away at whatever process you’ve asked it to perform.  Most of it turns out to be crap but every once in a while…

I love photographing waves crashing.  Don’t know why although I’m sure somewhere there’s a psychiatrist who would offer a few theories.  Perhaps it’s the dynamic nature of the water or the collision of the irresistible force and immovable object.  No clue; I just like making pictures of waves.  And since we’re talking about a moving object, sometimes you don’t really see the wave until you look at it frozen in an image.  Maybe that’s what I’m chasing – freezing time for a closer examination.

Well, what happens when you stack slices of time up and merge them together?  How about these slices –

I believe they are in reverse order (I’m not a blog expert by any means) but you get the idea.  I set my camera on a tripod and just kept firing the shutter as a wave came into the cove, trying to capture the moment it hits various rocks and sprays up in the air.  Usually I would find one or two images that were the most “dramatic” and work on this but this time I asked myself, “what would happen if I merged them all into a single photo?”

Well, you get this.

_C167523_color_stackThat’s pretty cool although I have no idea where the color shifts came from.  I guess Photoshop just gave up trying to make all the right colors end up in the right places for that many images and just said, “here, you figure it out.”

Here’s the interesting thought – color has meaning in B&W.  And I can use NIK’s Silver Efex Pro to simulate color filters in B&W film.  What would that do?  Turns out it does this.

_C167523Now that’s interesting.  I need to figure out how to deal with those big black patches (I think the wave spray highlights blew out in the merge process) but all the rest is neat.  Really gives a sense of the chaos in the cove as the waves continually beat on the rocks.  Don’t really need color to tell that story.  A bonus is the lighting on the rocks at the top – nice sense of the sunset that’s happen to the left of the image.  There’s even a couple of people standing on top of one rock.  Guess they were standing there admiring the view while I was firing off 10 shots.  Nice of them.

Don’t throw away your images, folks, they may find a home in an alternate processing scheme!


4 thoughts on “Freezing time

  1. It’s fascinating (and strange) to see what happened to the images when you merged them. Photoshop seems to have a mind of its own at times, but this is probable the most unpredictable result I think that I have seen. One of the joys of post-processing is playing around just to see what will happen. I needed to be reminded to play more.


    • Playing, yes that’s the right way to think of it. So many times with landscape we get caught up in the precise, detailed, exacting aspects and miss the story in front of us. I find it useful to return to a place several times, until I get “tired” of seeing it in the same way. That’s when I start to see the truly interesting aspects and my images start improving. I’ve probably stood at that spot a dozen times, knowing there was a picture there somewhere but not finding it. Now I have, simply by letting go of my “perception” of what I expected to see.

      Photoshop does have a mind of its own – that’s what makes it fun and frustrating at the same time.


  2. I did one where I literally set my camera in Continuous Mode – just shooting the waves until I release my finger. I had so many pictures that day. But nothing really stands out nor sticks out. At the time I was clicking away the wave pictures it was cool and I really thought I could use at least one of the many. But no, one single shot is not going to cut. I guess I really have to do what you just did. Collect the good shots and have the feel of the entire wave movements than just seeing a single picture. I also think that B&W fit so well. How I wish I thought of all this, but II guess I’m not as quick wit, expert and creative.


    • It’s just one person’s approach, using what I had available. You would probably see something different, take a route unique to your vision. If you’ve got the images, give it a try. Nice thing about my approach is I get to be as surprised as anyone about the outcome!


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