Traffic Double Exposure


I have had this particular photo idea brewing around in my head for a really long time.

Ever since I saw what was possible with double exposure photography, I wanted to be able to shoot one using long exposure light trails from a highway. The traffic photo was made on the Yosemite exit off the 118 freeway in Simi Valley. After about 15 minutes of photographing, I was stopped by a police officer. He was courteous and simply said that “people might get suspicious.” He didn’t explicitly tell me to leave but I took that as a queue that he probably didn’t want to get any calls and so I told him that I would promptly leave. He apologized and said, “looks like you’re just having fun.” to which I replied, “yeah, well, I was.” Either way, I got what I wanted and I’m super happy with the results.

For the long exposure, I tried different method than I would typically use. Rather than just using Manual Exposure mode and stopping down for a long exposure, I was able to shoot wide open at f/1.8 using the Sony Light Trails app for the a7S. It’s like a $5 download that makes it possible to shoot long exposures via an auto stacking method. Rather than making one long exposure, the camera takes many subsequent exposures (at the interval you wish to specify) seamlessly and stacks them together. This is an advantage because it allows you to use much shorter exposure times and thus it’s possible to shoot at wide open apertures. There are limitations to the app (limited to minimum of 1″ shutter and Max ISO of 400) but it works very well in practice. The best part of the app is that it allows you to see the result in real time as the camera records the image. This is similar to the “Live Bulb” functionality available on the Olympus OM-D Cameras and I personally think it should be available on every digital camera. Seriously, it’s a spectacular way to make a single long exposure. It’s also better than stacking multiple separate images manually in post because it’s gapless, with no delay whatsoever between exposures. Brilliantly good.