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Posted July 30th, 2017

A Rose Glows

I produced this image using my camera’s multi-exposure mode. After shooting the wild rose in sharp focus, I threw the lens completely out of focus and progressively tilted the lens downward while adding three more exposures. This placed the pink halo above the flower, with the bright pink dominating over the darker green component in the overall exposure. Decades ago, I used this technique with Kodachrome slide film. It was more challenging back then, with a need to manually calculate exposures and a lack of instant feedback in an LCD to guide me through adjustments to my technique; indeed, by the time the processed film came back and I saw what I got it was too late to re-shoot the subject until next year. And yet, I have to say that I got better out-of-camera results with some of those images than I have been able to achieve so far with digital. In this case, I had to make localized adjustments in post-processing to bring back definition in the rose. While ethereal softness is a virtue of images shot this way, my attempts at this with digital equipment to date have generally come out too soft and mushy. Perhaps I still have to experiment more with my exposures, but I suspect the characteristics of film, especially conrasty film like Kodachrome, may give it an advantage for this purpose by suppressing the contribution of the darker components to the combined exposure. Digital sensors simply record too much information. On the other hand, digital photography does offer great post-processing flexibility that is not possible with slide film development, so I can still produce a satisfying image.
Pentax K-1, Kiron 105mm f/2.8 macro