Long exposures at midday

A couple of weeks ago I made the jump from Photoshop Elements 12 (been using since 7 skipping some versions) to Lightroom and Photoshop CC subscription service. Didn't take long at all to get use to how Lightroom worked and adjust my workflow to suit. 

Now that I use Lightroom there are many tutorials on the interwebs that I can put into practice, the first one I was how to simulate a long exposure in Photoshop by using many shorter exposures which is great for extra long exposures during daylight hours just like my first test image below that has a simulated exposure time of 7 min 10 secs all done in Photoshop and I'll walk you through it.

Simulated 7 min 10 sec long exposure

The day I decided to do this was not the best day as the clouds were slow moving and my subject was backlit, the clouds were also rolling away and not being replaced so more and more blue sky.

My setup was:

  • OM-D EM-5 with 12-40mm 2.8 @ f/8
  • 10 stop ND filter
  • CLP filter
  • ISO 100
  • Shutter: 10 sec
  • Noise reduction off
  • Shutter release cable with locking button
  • tripod
  • camera set to continuous/burst shooting mode

Once at home import photos from camera to Lightroom and pick the first photo and adjust to liking then select all the 10 second exposures and sync the settings across all. After this I found out that opening images in a smart object stack in photoshop (from the raw files on the file system) does not include the awesome adjustments I just made. I tried opening the series of photos in Photoshop as a smart object via Lightroom (right click) but this resulted in all images opening in their own windows. 

I had to choose open in Photoshop as layers ('Open in Layers in Photoshop...' from the right click menu in Lightroom) This retained the awesome adjustments, once all photos were open and layered it was time to convert the layers into a Smart Object (select all layers, right click and select 'Convert to Smart Object')

Last step, go to

Layer > Smart Object > Stack Mode

and select


and watch the magic happen!

Simulated 60 sec long exposure

10 sec long exposure