"How I Did It" 8 - No Car Freeway - by Sage Humphries


"This image is a culmination of approximately 35 images taken from a small street near a busy freeway interchange," said Sage Humphries D.D.S. "I originally got the idea when changing from one So Cal freeway to another in traffic. As I was gazing down upon the busy interchange from high above, I was amazed at the aerial view and really wanted to try and replicate the complexity of the interchange without the chaos of the cars."

"I knew that I could not set up a tripod and a camera at this location of inspiration, and I knew there was no way to shoot a Southern California freeway without any cars during daylight hours. I was aware of the stacks feature released in Photoshop CS3, so I scouted out another interchange, with a descent vantage point, and decided to give it a try."

How Sage Captured the Photo

"Originally 75 images were taken on a tripod to ensure that enough data was obtained. The photos were captured using a Canon 5D with a 24-105mm EF f/4 lens at ISO 100, shutter 1/400 sec, and f/5.0. After taking the shots, they were imported into lightroom and I selected 32 of the images and opened them in Photoshop CS3. In PS I utilized the median stacks feature to remove all of the cars. It took PS some time to crunch down the stack (especially with auto align selected: my tripod is not too stable), but once finished, I had an image without any cars (well I had one but that was easy enough to clone out). From here I removed a few distracting background elements and added a black and white adjustment layer."

"I know that there are probably a lot of people out there using this feature of PS CS3, but I figured that it may be something new to some of the virtual camera club members. I see a lot of potential for this feature. Think how many times you wanted to take a photo of a popular site but could not capture the image without distracting background or foreground elements."

"The day I shot this particular photo was a pretty cloudy day and in retrospect I might have increased my ISO a little so I could increase the shutter speed and minimize blurring in the cars. This would have probably helped eliminate the ghosting of the last car after the stacking."

Photo of the No Car Freeway by Sage Humphries.

More Tips from The Digital Photography Companion

"How I Did It" is a new feature of The Digital Story featured on The Digital Photography Companion mini site. These are techniques from virtual camera club members who have built upon information in The Digital Photography Companion, or have come up with new tips altogether.

We're building a living library of knowledge for everyone to use (and contribute to). If you have a "How I Did It" tip to share, just send it to me with the sample photo, and put "How I Did It" in the email subject.


Events! See the TDS Event Calendar for photography workshops, speaking engagements, and trade show appearances, including my Beginning Workflow with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom on June 22-28, 2008 in Sante Fe, New Mexico.

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1 Comment

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