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https://alphauniverseglobal.media.zestyio.com/Alpha-Universe-BTS-Achim-Thomae-Main-1.jpg?width=500&height=500&fit=bounds

Behind The Shot: Merging Multiple Exposures To Create A Serene Seascape Scene

Achim Thomae (@achimthomae) is a passionate landscape photographer. His day job working for Adobe Stock overlaps with his passion for photography in interesting ways. He describes his work as a landscape photographer as his second life. “I switched from Canon to Sony a few years ago and now I am using the Sony Alpha 7R V. Between the cutting-edge technology, superior autofocus abilities and incredible dynamic range, Sony is a landscape photographer's dream brand.” He offers workshops throughout Europe and also licenses images and sells prints of his work from his favorite destinations including the Bavarian Alps, Swiss Alps and Dolomites in Italy. Scrolling through his Instagram reveals breathtaking scenes from all over Europe. We recently came across this sea-side image and we wanted to know more about how it was made. Keep reading as Thomae shares how he captured this jaw-dropping landscape scene with his Sony Alpha 7R V and Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master.

Photo by Achim Thomae. Sony Alpha 7R V. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. Multiple Exposure: 1/30-sec., 1/500-sec.. 1/125-sec., f/13, ISO 200

Photo by Achim Thomae. Sony Alpha 7R V. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. Multiple Exposure: 1/30-sec., 1/500-sec.. 1/125-sec., f/13, ISO 200

Bringing Your Vision to Life 

This shot was taken in Sankt Peter-Ording. Sankt Peter Ording is a famous location at the North Sea coast in Germany and part of the National Park Wadden Sea. It's famous for its really wide sand beaches and distinctive stilt beach houses. It's a very windy region with massive tides - a guarantee for fast changing scenery. That evening I was strolling around to find a nice spot to catch the sunset with an appealing foreground. 
 
The combination of low tide, sand and wind was very promising. During low tide you can usually find little ponds which remain when the water level is falling. My idea was to find one of the stilt beach houses reflected in one of these ponds. Close to sunset I found an interesting spot. The wind and the falling tide formed some nice natural corrugated patterns. The pond was separated from the sea which ensured a mirror-like surface. My idea was to find a nice screen filling composition of the corrugated patterns and the reflections of the ponds to get a perfect depth effect.

Photo by Achim Thomae. Sony Alpha 7R V. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master.

Photo by Achim Thomae. Sony Alpha 7R V. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master.

Selecting Gear & Composition

I decided to take my Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master out of my backpack and put it on my Sony Alpha 7R V and try to find the best angle. The wide angle was perfect to get a very special perspective which would not have been possible with a 24mm lens. I always use my Sony Alpha 7R V for landscapes, especially at sunset. I want to ensure the highest dynamic range possible so that I can have flexibility in editing. So I didn’t even have to think about what camera body to select, it’s a no-brainer. 
 
I chose the wide angle of 12mm as it was perfect to stage the patterns perfectly in the scene. I decided to take the shot almost from ground level which accentuated the patterns perfectly as a foreground but high enough to see enough of the reflection in the water. I took care not to tilt the sensor to avoid falling lines at the beach house.

Getting A Handheld Multi-Exposure Shot

As the sun was about to be hidden by clouds I did not have much time to mount my tripod. I had to hurry to catch the last sun rays. So, I decided to go handheld. I had confidence in this decision because the A7R V's internal stabilization is fantastic.

Due to the bright backlight of the sun, I decided to take a handheld multi exposure shot with three exposures with a range of two stops per image. This was the best way to create the image I was seeing with my eyes. I selected the aperture of 13 to reach a high level of depth of field without closing the aperture too wide to avoid losing sharpness in the edges of the image. Exposure time was between 1/30-sec., 1/500-sec. to 1/125-sec. and ISO 200. I am really proud of being able to make this image handheld.

Editing A Landscape Image

I merged and edited the three exposures with Lightroom. Some of my typical editing steps for landscape photography include reducing highlights, increasing shadows, improving clarity/dehaze/vibrance, Lightroom Masking (reducing lights in the sky and shadows of the foreground). Then I also do a minimalistic reduction of noise, slight increase of sky saturation and sharpness, use the Upright Function to adjust architectural lines and edit out any sensor spots.

Photo by Achim Thomae. Sony Alpha 7R V. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master.

Photo by Achim Thomae. Sony Alpha 7R V. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master.

See more of Achim Thomae’s work on Instagram @achimthomae. 

Join the conversation about photography, landscape images and much more on the Sony Alpha Community Forums

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