Nine images of me in a single-exposure photo … How’d I do that?

First off, this isn’t art :-)

I do aspire to create art, but this is just fun. On the photo below, I didn’t Photoshop lots of pictures of me over and over, which would be a pretty reasonable guess as to how I got my own image into the frame several times in a single exposure.

Instead, here’s what I did. It was getting dark out when I took this, allowing me to do a long exposure. Now, when you shoot a camera in normal light, the shutter (that’s the part of the camera that opens and closes to let light in or keep light out) is only open for maybe 1/60 of a second. It can be much faster. My camera will shoot up to 1/4000 of a second. It only takes a very brief moment for the camera to gather enough light to create the image in bright light. But, as night falls and there’s much less light, it can take a long time to gather enough light … maybe 30, 45, 60 seconds or longer. So it just collects more and more light to expose the sensor and create the image.

In the photo below, it was getting dark, and I was doing a long exposure, but I introduced some very bright artificial light to illuminate myself. I walked around in front of the camera and hit myself with bursts of light from an old flash I was holding. So I went to one spot and popped the flash, then another and another and another. Now when I illuminated myself with the flash in this low light, it illuminated me enough to register an image on the camera’s sensor. But the existing light (I mean just the light that was naturally occurring) was so dim that, without the flash, I could walk around without making a discernible impression on the sensor. So I just show up where I hit myself with the flash and remain undetectable as I walk around from place to place. Pretty fun!

(You can click on the image to see a larger view.)