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In the old days of film shooting, if you ever forgot to advance the film in your camera, then you would end up shooting multiple images onto the same piece of film, resulting in a weird composite image. Eventually, the camera makers engineered their cameras so that it was not possible to accidentally create multiple exposures. But by that point, it was too late: all the artsy types had already decided that multiple exposures were a very cool effect. You can create multiple exposures in your camera right now using the Multiple Exposure feature. To shoot in Multiple Exposure with your D800, go into the menu system.
In the Shooting menu, kind of near the bottom, you're going to see something called Multiple Exposure. It defaults to off of course. I am going to come in here and turn it on. There are two different ways of turning it on. I can turn it on to shoot a single multiple exposure. Now, that doesn't actually mean a single image; it means I'm going to produce one multiple exposure, which might be composed of several images. Or I can say no, I want to do a series of multiple exposures. So after I shoot this first one, just stay in Multiple Exposure mode. This is a really nice way of protecting yourself against forgetting that you're in Multiple Exposure mode.
So I am going to say I am just going to do one. So that will automatically turn off Multiple Exposure after I do this particular composite. I can define the number of shots I want, from 2 the 10. I am going to leave it at 2. As you've probably already figured out here, we have built a set with two different objects on it. I am going to shoot a single image of each object and the camera is going to combine them into a single multiple exposure. Auto Gain is something you really probably going to want to leave on anytime you're doing multiple exposure. It's going to control the brightness of each shot as you shoot more of them.
So it's some intelligent compositing going on here. With those things configured, I am ready to go. Now, a couple of notes here. First of all, multiple exposures does not work in Live View mode, so one thing is you can't follow me along here while I am doing this. And two, just know that if you have Live View turned on, even if you configured Multiple Exposure, once you turn on Live View, it's going to turn all of that off. A cool thing you can do though is combine multiple exposures with the interval timer. So, I could define a multiple exposure that says take 10 shots, and then I can start the interval timer, and say, take a shot every hour for 10 hours, and I'd have this long series of shots that would be combined into a multiple exposure.
So from here I just do what I would normally do and frame my shot meter and focus and take my first picture. And now I am going to go over here and meter and focus my second picture. And the camera should have produced a multiple exposure from that. So, let's go into Playback mode. It's going to think for a minute, and here it is. So you can see that it has combined both elements into a single image.
So, it's pretty much just done a straight transparency. The two images both have 50% opacity, and they've been combined together. So, this is a simple way to get an effect that you can also do in Photoshop, so that's something you need to think about when you're setting up this kind of shot. Do you want to do it in camera, or is it better to just take clean shots and combine them in Photoshop where you have more control? What's fun about this is there's kind of a random element to it, because you don't know what the camera is going to do. But where you're probably going to find this the most useful is in doing things that are harder to do in Photoshop, like combining this with an intervalometer, or you're going to use this for times when you don't have time to go to Photoshop.
If you really need to turn around the composite very quickly and you think you can get it in-camera, that's a time to experiment with the Multiple Exposure feature.
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