Kite Surfer #1 – Composite of Four Images

For those of you that have been following my Daytime Long Exposure you can see that I enjoy creating images that are a composite of more than one image, trying to expand my creative expression 🙂 My first attempt was the Algarve Wind Farms, a year later the Southern Straits Boat Race and now, I want to introduce my Kite Surfer #1 image.


My vision in this technique is to convey the range of motion of the subject matter.  In the world of photography, we are reducing reality from four dimensions (three special dimensions of height, width and depth and the fourth being time) onto a two dimensional slate, we reduce the reality perception it even further of we convert to black and white as it is not our reality, we see the world in colour and not b&w.  By using time as an additional tool in your creative arsenal, you can expand the limited range of expression within the world of photography.


Within Daytime Long Exposure Photography, subject matters are normally complete stagnant, such as rocks, land or building, as in Architectural Photography, and the moving part of the image is either clouds or water.  Since my subject matter of wind farms, boats, kite surfers are all dynamic and have an ‘in-between’ range of motion and use the wind (and water) for their functionality, I wanted to find a way to implement them into the composition and found that artistically it works best if their motion is frozen within the image.  In a way it resembles panning, although we know that the subject is moving, we freeze it and have everything around it in motion.


The final image is a composite of the following four images:

  1. The sky:  4 minute exposure with 13 f-stop ND filter

Note: this is the image with a rough conversion to Black and White before proper adjustments.

2. The water: since I wanted to get the motion of the waves and not a marble slate effect, a 6 second exposure in the mid day sun with a 6 f-stop ND filter:

Note: Again, this is the image with a rough conversion to Black and White before proper adjustments.

 3. Lastly a still shot of the kite itself and the surfer.  TIP: don’t hesitate to change lenses for the close in detail shots, I took this one with a 200 mm lens while the rest were with a wide angle 24 mm.

And lastly, the surfer:

From these four images and with quite a few tweaks and black and white conversion (with Silver Efex Pro 2) the final image is: