Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Harris Shutter

This technique was invented by Bob Harris, of Kodak. You may recognize it from ads and posters from the seventies. The idea is to shoot three separate exposures using red, blue, and green filters. This effect is only effective is parts of the scene are in movement, otherwise all the channels will overlap and cancel out.  Everything in movement will produce bright colors of different hues depending on the combination of RGB exposed in less than all 3 combined. 

More adventures in Harris Shutter
In the days of film this could be achieved by either using a different filter for each shot or employing a "drop through filter" of three gels and two opaque sections that could be slid through a holder during one exposure. Nowadays this can be achieved similarly with a digital camera. But it has been made easier still with software. 

The fall colors are great this year

I found a rich subject in aspen leaves, but any scene that has some static and moving features can be used. I've seen some great shots of people and cars moving around so it doesn't have to be a landscape.

Basically if you don't have access to the drop through filter or multiple in-camera exposures or individual gels, you'll need to use software to create these. The idea is to get your images open and modify the channel of each so that one will contain red, one blue, and one green. You can then merge the layers using the difference method. Of course different programs may not use this exact terminology, but that is the idea.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Here is a waterfall with a nice mix of both elements:
That 70s Show - Fourmile Creek Falls
There are endless possibilities. I tried to capture smoke rising from a volcano but failed at that one. Next trip to Hawaii will have to give it another go.

There is a dedicated group for this method on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/groups/harrisshuttereffect/.

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