Multiple exposures with the D300

Film-land was, among other things, a land where delightful accidents could occur when you didn’t advance the film and shot twice on one frame. Or shot over a roll of film you’d already exposed. The first instance was something that regularly happened with my old Mamiya RB67, having a two-action system for advancing the film and cocking the shutter.

This shot [click for a large version]….

..was made with the RB67 and by shooting three frames on the same piece of film. Kinda trippy results.

But how do you do it with a camera that doesn’t even take film? Not all digital SLRs have a multiple-exposure facility but happily both my D300 and D700 do. Reason for going out today with the D300 and not the D700? Well, I like a change once in a while and apart from my son using it, the D300 has been languishing on the shelf for a while and it was time to give it some love. Plus, the 20mm Nikkor f/3.5 AiS I have is a wonderful 30mm on the DX sensor, which is also quite fun. Lastly, I was off out to get Charlie from the nursery and didn’t really fancy lugging the D700. I have no speed-grip on the D300 so with the tiny little 20mm, the D300 is small-ish and easy to carry.

Shooting multiple exposures on both the D300 and D700 couldn’t be easier to set-up, although getting interesting shots takes a little practice. In the shooting menu [that’s the one with the little camera icon] you’ll find a setting called, wait for it, ‘Multiple Exposures’.

Hit the selector dial on the back of the camera, pressing in a right-hand direction, to get into the multiple exposure menu.

Firstly, set the amount of shots you want to take on one ‘frame’ of ‘film’: you have from 2 to 10 shots possible.

Auto-gain is the way the camera can help figure out the exposure for multiple shooting. With two frames it’s not really so necessary to set it to ‘on’ as two frames look ok overlapped with the same, normal way of exposing. But you might want to pick two subjects that fit well together; i.e. one that has a predominance of dark tones and one light. They tend to overlay better. But it’s all really just experimentation. More than two shots and I’d advice setting the auto-gain to ‘on’. The camera is pretty good at figuring out how to shoot five or ten frames and blend the exposures well.

One foible is that you have to set this item in the menu everytime you want to shoot a multiple-exposure. Do one, and the camera resets itself to normal shooting: one frame, then the next frame. It’s no great hassle though: shoot, hit the menu button, press the ‘OK’ button and you;re good to go again.

Here’s a few I shot when I went out to get Charlie from school. I planned to do more but the heavens opened on the way home and whilst I am happy to shoot in the rain, shooting in the rain with one hand and steering a push-chair with the other – as we sprint for home – is not really what I call having fun with the camera. So I’ll get some more tomorrow when I’m out in Hiroo for a meeting.


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Japanorama is run by British professional photographer, Alfie Goodrich, and provides practical photography teaching in Tokyo. Weekly workshops, group and one-to-one lessons bring together photographers of all ages and abilities.

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