Quick Shot: 10 Minute Photo

A few weeks ago I got an idea for a 10 minute photograph - something I've never tried before. The idea was to take long exposure photos for 10 minutes and merge the final product into one photo in Photoshop - essentially creating a single image that represents 10 minutes of time.

The challenge was to find a place where I could do this experiment and where it'd be obvious that 10 minutes of time had passed. That meant that I needed a location with some nice moving clouds and (preferably) some water. After extensive research, I decided to try this out at the fishing pier at Leesylvania State Park. 

To get this image, I mounted two neutral density filters on my Nikon D800 with Nikon 14-24mm lens. The neutral density filters limit how much light gets to my camera, so the camera compensates by taking a longer image. Think of it like tricking the camera into thinking it's nighttime during the middle of the day. I had to use a tripod because each image was 20 seconds long and the camera couldn't move at all during this 10 minute stretch.

In total, 30 images were taken over 10 minutes.

To get this result, however, required even longer with Photoshop! First, to speed up processing times, I converted all the RAW NEF files into TIFF format. Then I used Adobe Photoshop photomerge to create a blended image of all 30 photos into one. Of course, this left a little ghosting and vignetting where there were things like fishers standing on the pier, but I removed those to create a seamless image. Finally, I opened the composite TIFF and adjusted it in Adobe Camera RAW and converted it into black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. 

I am pretty pleased with the end result and I think it's neat having a single image that represents 10 minutes in time. What do you think?

My 10 minute photograph of the fishing pier at Leesylvania State Park