How To Add Texture To Your In-Camera JPEGs

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Green Mountain On Canvas – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

A creative option found in many photo editing programs is texture. The texture, which might be canvas, paper, cloth, wood, etc., is added as a layer which can be blended as strongly or subtly as one might want. It’s a fun technique that adds an unexpected element to pictures. I used to occasionally do this when I used Alien Skin Exposure software. There are even some specialty films that have texture built-in, such as Revolog Texture films.

When I was experimenting with my Faded Color and Faded Monochrome film simulation recipes, which use double-exposure photography to create a vintage film aesthetic, it occurred to me that I could use the double-exposure feature of my Fujifilm X-T30 to add texture to my pictures in-camera. I could get a textured look without software. Incredible! So I begun to experiment with textured JPEGs, and the results were interesting.

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Canvas Daisy – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

You might ask, “I can do this in Photoshop in only a few seconds, so why would I want to do this in-camera?” That’s a good question that deserves a lengthy explanation. I used to shoot RAW, but I rely on camera-made JPEGs now. Why? It saves me tons of time and makes my photographs more honest. Since I started shooting JPEGs, my photography production has gone through the roof while my total time investment in photography has noticeably dropped. I’m creating more with less. It’s all thanks to Fujifilm’s superb JPEG engine. The honesty statement is a little more controversial, but it’s clear that photography in general has taken a large perception hit when it comes to integrity. Non-photographers (photography consumers) don’t take a picture at face value anymore, and “Photoshop” has negative connotations. People ask me, “How much is this Photoshopped?” I answer, “None of it, this is how the camera captured it. This picture is unedited.” You’d be surprised at the overwhelming positive responses that I get from this answer. People find it refreshing. Photographers don’t see anything wrong with photo manipulation; however, many non-photographers feel that it’s not the image that’s being manipulated by the photographer, but the general public. They feel as though they’re being tricked by dishonesty. Whether or not that perception is fair or should exist is a whole different discussion, but you can avoid it altogether by shooting JPEGs. People are looking for authenticity, and this is one way to move in that direction.

To capture a photograph with texture on your Fujifilm camera, you will first need to enable the double-exposure feature of your camera. On the X-T30 it’s found on a knob on top of the camera. You can use any film simulation, but note that double-exposure pictures on the camera will be flatter (have less contrast), so Velvia, Classic Chrome and Acros work best because they have more contrast. Astia and PRO Neg. Hi work alright, as well. You will want to have Highlight and Shadow set no lower than +2, and more might give better results. Don’t be afraid to try +4 on one or both. I also recommend DR100, and DR200 if the scene has a lot of contrast. I find that for the main exposure, exposure compensation typically needs to be in the +1/3 to +1 range. The second exposure, which will be the texture exposure, typically needs exposure compensation set to -1 to -2, and I usually start at -2 and adjust as necessary. The camera will show you what the picture will look like, and it also allows do-overs if you need it.

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Hanging B&W Picture – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

For texture, I found the best results came from a white stretched canvas for painting. I also tried other things, like burlap, cloth, paper, wood and metal, but the results weren’t as good in my opinion. I recommend trying different materials and seeing for yourself what you like or don’t like. After capturing the main exposure, capture a second exposure of the textured object. It’s really that simple. The camera gives a 50/50 blend of the two exposures, but because the first exposure is brighter and the second is darker, it will appear more in the neighborhood of 70/30, which is what you want. It might appear as though the image is actually printed on a textured surface.

This is a simple but creative way to use the double-exposure feature of your camera. You could really play around with this and get inventive. Try different settings, different subjects and different textures and see what happens. Below are examples of textured pictures I created using this technique on my Fujifilm X-T30:

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Afternoon Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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Crop of the above image.

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Spring Green Hill – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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Crop of the above image.

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Backlit Sycamore Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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Crop of the above image.

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Hazy Light Tree Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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Crop of the above image.

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Tree Trunk In The Corner – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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Crop of the above image.

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Weed Flower Canvas – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 -Canvas

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Crop of the above image.

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Yellow Flower on Canvas – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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Crop of the above image.

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Yellow Blossom Burlap – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Burlap

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Bottle Still Life – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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Coffee Still Life – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Metal

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Blue R – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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Film on Canvas – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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E To H – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Canvas

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Zenit E on Wood – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Wood

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Wood Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Wood

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Knot A Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Wood

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Window Birds Texture – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – Cloth

My Fujifilm X-T30 Faded Monochrome Film Simulation Recipe

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All Aboard Boy – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Faded Monochrome”

I love the results of my Faded Color recipe, so creating a Faded Monochrome recipe was a natural next step. This film simulation recipe requires the use of the double-exposure feature of the camera. The first exposure is a normal photo, and the second exposure is of something plain white. I’ve tried different things, but for me a 4″ x 6″ plain white index card works well. No need for the second exposure to be in focus. It’s a simple idea that I wish I had thought of earlier. I think I’ve just scratched the surface of what can be created using this technique.

In film photography, you could achieve a similar look by printing with a low-contrast filter. You could also develop the film for low contrast by adjusting any number of things in the lab. You might also get this look by accident if you reused the fixer one too many times. Sometimes underexposed pushed-processed film has a very similar aesthetic. It’s possible for negatives to fade over time, especially if not stored correctly, and that, too, might create a similar look. While “faded” is in the title of this recipe, the look isn’t so much faded as it is low-contrast with “milky” blacks. It works especially well for high-contrast scenes.

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Morning Coffee – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Faded Monochrome”

To use this recipe, you will create two exposures using the double-exposure feature of your camera. The first exposure is the main image, and the second exposure is of something plain white, such as a 4″ x 6″ plain white index card. There is no need for the second exposure to be in focus. The exposure compensation for the second exposure can vary greatly depending on how bright the white is and how you want the picture to look. You will have to play around with it to figure out what works for you. The good news is that your camera will give you a preview of the finished image and will allow do-overs.

Acros (Acros+Y, Acros+R, Acros+G)
Dynamic Range: DR100
Highlight: +4
Shadow: +4
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: +2
Grain Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Toning: 0 (Neutral)
ISO: Auto up to ISO 12800
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +1 (main exposure), 0 to -2 (second exposure)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using my Faded Monochrome recipe on a Fujifilm X-T30:

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Grey Rose – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Grey Lake – East Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Lake Boat – Willard Bay SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Tree Limbs – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Well – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Don’t Give – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Urban Escape – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Big Brick Buildings – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Center Reflection – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Urbanscape Monochrome – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Less Is More – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Urban Leaves – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Small Flower In The Big City – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Park Bench – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Joshua Monochrome – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Happy Girl – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Children On A Park Slide – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Instax Photographer – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Joy In The City – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Bank Time – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Water On The Glass – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Club – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Stepping By – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Vibes – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Quiet – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Urban Cloud – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Angles & Lines – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Utah Artist – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Treading Lightly – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Marlboro Man – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Come Inside – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Mono Chrome – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Stop In Ogden – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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UTA Station – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Train Ride Abstract – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Empty Train Seats – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Train Passenger – Roy, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Passenger Window – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Train 19 – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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UTA 19 – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Train Host – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Hungry Traveler – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Caboose Steps Monochrome – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Caboose Display – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Industrial Sunlight – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Ladder Climb – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

My Fujifilm X-T30 Faded Color Film Simulation Recipe

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Fading Memories – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Faded Color”

This recipe is a failure. More accurately, it’s a failed attempt at a certain aesthetic. It doesn’t look like what I was hoping it would look like. It’s close, but no cigar. What it does look like are faded color photographs from perhaps the 1950’s through 1970’s. I have some old issues of Arizona Highways magazine from the 1950’s, and these pictures have a similar look to what’s found in those magazines. You might have some old family photos that have faded over time and perhaps look like the pictures that this recipe creates. You can also achieve this washed-out “milky” look through darkroom techniques. Even though this recipe doesn’t look like what I was trying to create, it looks really amazing, and I am astonished that this look can be achieved in-camera.

What I was trying to create was a certain cinematic characteristic. I was asked by a Fuji X Weekly reader to create a film simulation recipe that produces a look similar to the aesthetic of the Wong Kar Wai movie Chungking Express. I had never seen this movie, so I had to do much research, and thankfully a lot of great information was easily found online. I discovered that the motion picture film used in the movie was Agfa XT320, and that it was often (but not always) push-processed, sometimes one stop and sometimes two. A technique called flashing was used a number of times in the movie, which involves flashing the film with light to give it a smoky, atmospheric, or faded feel, lowering contrast. It’s a type of double exposure, except that the second exposure is nothing more than a little light. Another technique that was used in the movie was to give different scenes a certain color cast using gels. Wong Kar Wai likes to create scenes with one predominant color, and so you will find elements in the scene that are the same color as the color cast. He used a slow shutter speed in the movie to blur motion. There were a ton of different techniques used, and so you can probably understand the difficulty of the task. You cannot incorporate everything into one recipe, so I had to make some choices and create a plan to try to achieve something that looks similar to the movie.

My idea was to attempt a recipe that resembled push-processed Agfa XT320 that has been flashed and has a color cast. I decided to use the double-exposure feature on my Fujifilm X-T30 and white balance shift to achieve this. For the second exposure, which needed to be white, I tried a number of things, including a miniature portable studio, but after some trial-and-error, I settled on a plain white 4″ x 6″ index card. I would hold it a few inches in front of the lens and make the second exposure. Auto-focus would never lock onto it, and I figured that a blurry exposure might actually be preferable. For the color cast, I found that one exposure should not have a shifted white balance and the other should. Initially I was adding the color cast to the main exposure and not the white exposure, but then I switched that and liked the results better for some reason. I used the 16:9 aspect ratio to make it a more cinematic shape. Unfortunately, I could never get the results to look quite right for Chungking Express. I think I was in the general ballpark, but not as close as I was hoping. Fortunately, what I did create was pretty interesting, so I kept shooting with it, except I used the 3:2 aspect ratio.

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Main Motion – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Faded Color”

To use this recipe, you must set the camera to double-exposure, which on the X-T30 is found on a knob on the top. You capture the main exposure, then you must make some adjustments for the second exposure. The white balance must be shifted and the exposure compensation must be adjusted. For the white balance shift, I found going almost to the extremes works well. For a yellow cast, choose 0 Red & -8 Blue. For an orange cast, choose +8 Red & -8 Blue. For a red cast, choose +8 Red and 0 Blue. For a purple cast, choose +8 Red & +8 Blue. For a blue cast, choose 0 Red and +8 Blue. For a cyan cast, choose -8 Red and +8 Blue. For a green cast, choose -8 Red & 0 Blue. For green-yellow cast, choose -8 Red & -8 Blue. The exposure compensation for the white exposure is a little tricky. A lot depends on how bright the white is (whether it has direct light on it or if it is in shade) and how faded you want the image to look. It takes a little practice, but the good news is that the camera shows you exactly what the results are going to be, and even allows you do-overs if you don’t like it. I found that sometimes 0 was good, I found that sometimes -2 was good, and often -2/3 or -1 was a good choice. Each picture should get individual consideration. The second exposure is a picture of something white, such as the blank index card that I already described, although you could certainly try other things if you find something that might work better for you. This creates a faded look that almost seems unbelievable that it came out of the camera unedited.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR100
Highlight: +3
Shadow: +4
Color: +4
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Sharpening: +2
Noise Reduction: -4
Grain Effect: Strong
White Balance: Auto (use a shift on the second exposure)
ISO: Auto up to ISO 12800
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +1 (main exposure), 0 to -2 (second exposure)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using my Faded Color recipe on a Fujifilm X-T30:

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Good Life – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Or Another – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Summer Santa – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Makeup – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Walking Without Wondering – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Bike Repair – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Transit Train Transportation – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Kid Bowling – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Instax Girl – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Guitar Cat – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Cracked Eggs – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Good Vibes – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Steps & Vines – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Lake Grass – Willard Bay SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Faded Daisies – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Soft Rose – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Summer Roses – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Red Rose Faded – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Dark Rose – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Big Red Ball Catching – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Tona – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Hanging Bulbs – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Wet Bloom – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Caboose Steps – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Breakboy – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Lake Boy – East Canyon SP, UP – Fujifilm X-T30

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Springtime Lake – East Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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East Canyon Reservoir – East Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Multiple Exposure Monday, Part 2: The Treachery of Images

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Pas Une Abeille – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – double exposure

In the late 1920’s, Belgian painter Rene Magritte shocked the art world by painting a realistic pipe for smoking, printing underneath it, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” which is French for, “This is not a pipe.” You look at it and ask, “If it’s not a pipe, what the heck is it? It sure looks like a pipe to me!”

Factually, his painting, entitled The Treachery of Images, is not a pipe, it’s a painting of a pipe. A picture is never the object that is represented on it, but a facsimile of that object. Rene said of his painting, “The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it’s just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture, ‘This is a pipe,’ I would have been lying!”

This is an important point for photographers. No matter how real an image may look, the fact is that it is a photograph and not the actual scene. It’s a likeness, and a heavily biased one at that. The photographer makes all sorts of decisions before and after opening the shutter that effect the outcome. Whatever it is that you are photographing, you could print underneath it This is not a [insert name of scene being photographed] and you’d be absolutely right. As a photographer, you are making a one-sided representation of a scene. It’s not possible for the viewers of your image to step into the scene and touch things or move stuff around. It’s a picture, and that’s all.

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Not A Light – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – double exposure

This revelation is liberating! Because it’s not possible for you to photographically make whatever the scene is, only a biased portrayal of it, you can make it look however you wish. You are the artist and you get to decide everything. You are not merely capturing, you are interpreting. You are creating something unique. You are communicating through the picture your thoughts and emotions about the scene in front of the lens. There is no need to be accurate, unless that’s what you, the artist, wants. More important than accuracy is having something interesting or important to nonverbally speak to the viewer.

I copied Rene Magritte’s idea, and made double-exposure photographs that say, in French, “Not a [name of object in the picture],” to remind myself and others of his imperative point. This was a very simple in-camera combination. The first exposure was of black paper with white writing and the second exposure was of the object itself. I did give the photographs some post-processing because, straight-out-of-camera, they’re a little flat.

This was an interesting project that I did over the course of a couple of days. What I appreciate about it is the message. The pictures are nothing more than representatives of the objects, so how I compose, what my settings are, and how I edit are my prerogative, and if you don’t like it that’s fine. I’m the artist, not you. I’m simply communicating through my pictures what I think or how I feel about the object in the picture. Those are my thoughts and my feelings, and I’m allowed to have them. I’m free to create pictures that express myself through them, things that I might have a tough time communicating with actual words.

Besides, this was a fun project and I find photography in general to be fun. If it’s not enjoyable, then why do it? I get a lot of satisfaction from creating images. I hope that others like them, as well, but it’s alright if they don’t, because that’s not why I created the pictures. I hope that my intended message is meaningful to you. I hope that you appreciate these photographs as much as I do. It’s alright if you don’t because it’s not a pipe and you are entitled to your opinions. Sometimes there aren’t any right or wrong answers, and sometimes what seems untrue is actually true and vice versa. Simply put, create what you want to create how you want to create it, and don’t worry what others will think or say about it.

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Not A Camera – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – double exposure

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Pas Une Fleur – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – double exposure

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Pas Une Feuille – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – double exposure

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Not A Bird – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – double exposure

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Pas Une Montagne – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – double exposure

See also: Multiple Exposure Monday, Part 1 

Multiple Exposure Monday, Part 1

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My Mourning Essentials – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – double exposure

I’ve been doing multiple exposure photography off and on for a long time. It seems as though every year or two I get a short-lived urge to be creative in that way. I’ll make a number of multiple exposure photographs over the course of a few weeks, then I’ll stop until that urge returns in another year or so.

This type of photography can be done in-camera on film, in the darkroom on paper, in-camera digitally, or with Photoshop or some other similar software. At one time or another I’ve done it each way. I think in-camera on film has the best potential for great results, but it can be very tricky, requiring great skill and great luck. Getting good results in Photoshop can be tricky because, most often, it’s easy to spot when one has done that technique. I find that in-camera digitally is a good method, not quite having the potential that film provides but not producing obviously fake results like what one often sees when done with software.

Here are some examples of multiple exposure photographs that I’ve done in the past:

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Ghost Garage – Redlands, CA – Pentax K-30 – double exposure

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Photography Is A Drug – Stallion Springs, CA – Sigma DP2 Merrill – triple exposure

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I Am Nature – Ogden Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – double exposure

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Preserved Steam Wheel – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – double exposure

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Preserving The Library Stairs – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – double exposure

The bug to create multiple exposure pictures bit me again recently. Last week I used my X100F and X-Pro2 to capture several double exposures. I looked around for interesting opportunities to combine scenes. One difficult aspect of multiple exposure photography is combining two exposures in a way that brings new meaning, that changes what both scenes are about. It’s definitely abstract in nature, but there has to be a point to it other than just abstract, or else why do it?

Fujifilm makes it pretty easy to do this type of photography in-camera because you capture the first image, then it superimposes that onto the second as you are capturing it. You can see exactly what the results are going to be. Typically, even with highlight and shadow set to +4, the straight-out-of-camera picture looks flat, so some post-processing is required, although I try to keep it to a minimum.

Hopefully I will have some more opportunities to create even more double-exposure pictures coming up in the next few days. I have a number of ideas floating around inside my head. I hope you enjoy the ones that I captured below.

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Yearning – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 – double exposure

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Not An Entrance – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X100F – double exposure

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Blue Diamond – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – double exposure

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Abstract Rectangles – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – double exposure

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Trade Tools – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – double exposure

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Two Tone Carts – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X100F – double exposure

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Lens Target – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X100F – double exposure

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Double Shot – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X100F – double exposure