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Cuvier River and Interval Composite mode

I recently spent a few nights up at Lake St Clair and made the time to snoop around the Watersmeet area, where the Cuvier River and Hugel River meet before flowing into the Lake. It was a magnificently still and overcast day, meaning perfect conditions for photographing the forest.

Cuvier River Lake St Clair

Cuvier River Lake St Clair

Interval Composite Mode – Your very own In Camera ND filter!

A feature I have been using a lot lately is the “Interval Composite” drive mode (known as “Multiple Exposure” on the Nikon and Canon systems). This drive mode (on the Pentax) allows anything up to 2000 exposures to be recorded onto one image file, allowing great long exposure effects – particularly when moving water is involved. Compare the two shots below:

Cuvier River, Lake St Clair.

Cuvier River, Lake St Clair. 2 second exposure (ISO 100; f16)

Cuvier River Lake St Clair

Cuvier River Lake St Clair. “Interval Composite” 20 x 2 second exposures blended in camera produces an ultra-silky flow on the water surface. The complete lack of wind meant there was no distraction from moving leaves and branches in the background either.

As you can see the water is extraordinarilly smooth on the second shot which is essentially a 40 second exposure taken in broad daylight. You can basically think of this feature as an in-camera ND filter!

Cuvier River Lake St Clair

Cuvier River Lake St Clair, again utilising the Interval Composite drive mode.

Using Interval Composite/Multiple Exposure

There are a few menu options to select when using this mode. First, you will notice “Average”; “Additive” and “Bright”. For shots such as this (ie during the day) make sure you are on “Average”. “Additive” means what it says – each exposure will “add” to your image meaning you will be overexposed before long. Try using additive for star trails at night instead 😉

Cuvier River Lake St Clair

Cuvier River Lake St Clair

Another tip for this shooting mode is to set your camera to manual focus to avoid having the camera auto focus prior to each exposure which simply isn’t necessary. Use aperture priority, so that if light changes while you are shooting (eg the sun goes behind some clouds) your camera will compensate.

Cuvier River Lake St Clair

Cuvier River Lake St Clair

Visiting Lake St Clair and the Cuvier River

Lake St Clair is a wonderful part of Tasmania and a lot less “touristy” than other locations so is well worth a few days of your time, especially now that winter is here.

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About Luke

Luke O'Brien runs a stall at Hobart's popular Salamanca Market every Saturday where his prints and cards are available for purchase. Follow Luke's photographic adventures on Twitter at @lukeobrienphoto, at his Facebook page or by subscribing to his email newsletter.