Shooting Challenge: Stacked Long Exposures

Illustration for article titled Shooting Challenge: Stacked Long Exposures

Remember this amazing photo from the ISS? It was actually a series of 30-second exposures, glued together as one. And for this week's Shooting Challenge, I can't get you into space, but I can teach you the technique.


The Challenge

Take two (or many more!) long exposure shots and combine them into one image.

The Technique

OK, so a few of you may wonder, why do this? Why glue together several 30 second exposures instead of setting a camera to take one 10-minute exposure. A few reasons:

1. Not all cameras can take exposures beyond 30-seconds.
2. There's a risk to leaving shutters open for that long, and it drains the batteries.
3. Most importantly, it opens up creative possibilities. Imagine combining a long exposure from a spot in the morning with one at night, for instance, like a sunrise and a sunset. You can create a long exposure that covers more time, so long as you lock down a tripod and revisit the shot.

As for HOW you do this, ShutterPhoto has a fantastic, 3-part tutorial that will get you capturing star trails and whatever else you want in no time.

The Example

Our lead shot is by Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit, from 18 different shots. Needless to say, the bar was set pretty (literally) high!

The Rules

1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced (read more on that above).
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to, not me.
5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.
9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.


Send your best photo by Monday, June 11th at at 10AM Eastern to with "Exposure" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameExposure.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnameExposureWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!

Mark Wilson is the founder of Philanthroper, a daily deal site for nonprofits.



Lana, Lana,...LANAAAAAA!!!

So are we saying that the long exposure MUST be 30 seconds?