What Is Time Blending?

November 6th 2023

I am just coming back from a short trip to the North East of the United States of America…more specifically New York and Pennsylvania. I had a chance to not only meet many wonderful people I had been chatting with on Instagram for years…I also had a chance to photograph the fall season colours at many locations I had never seen. Of those locations, I wanted to see Buttermilk State Park, Havana Glen, Watkins Glen, Ricketts Glens and many more.

Now since the fall season is a very busy season for a lot of those locations, it’s also fair to say that some scenes were extremely difficult to capture « free-of-humans »… In some situations, all that was required was a bit of patience until people moved out of my composition. In other situations, it was impossible to have a clean image…but what should we do in such circumstances? Not shooting those said scenes and walk away wasn’t my option.

I had highlight locations such as Rainbow Falls in Watkins Glen…people were constantly walking in the frame, bumping into me. Then when they were out of the frame, I had more people coming in. Don’t get me wrong…people are more than allowed to be there to enjoy those said scenes. To add a bit more spiciness to my overall experience, water dripping on me from the cliff…I was getting wet and so was my camera equipment. Patience was seriously getting to a record low!


What you could do to get rid of those people is to set up your camera on a tripod…yes, you will need a tripod for this technique. Make sure you are happy with your composition and capture some images as people are moving in and out! In the end, if you are patient enough, you should be able to capture every portion of your image free of people.

For this technique to work, you will be required to use a sturdy tripod. Then pay attention to moving elements of your composition and trigger the shutter every time you feel like so…


When you are back home, make sure to back up your images as you normally do and process them in your preferred RAW treatment software. Make sure you synchronize your RAW files so they look basically the same… The next step will be to import all those images as layers into Photoshop. Choose all images in Lightroom, right click and choose to Open As Layers in Photoshop. Once all layers are opened in Photoshop, mask which ever part of each layer you need to create a « free-of-people » final image.

Long Way Into The Glen
Then when you are back home in front of your computer, stack all those images on top of each other as layers into Photoshop and mask which ever part of each layer you need to create your image! In this particular case, my goal was to create a human-free image.


Yes of course! That technique is extremely useful in many situations! Imagine a situation when you have that perfect sunset in front of your eyes…but the sky has one empty hole with no clouds. Simply wait until the clouds move a bit and capture a few extra frames to fill that empty spot!

In this particular case, I used Time Blending to fill an empty spot in the sky...the first frame was used for the water action in the mid ground and the last image was used for the sun star and the beautiful rain curtains. Look below to see the final outcome!


Seascape Photography is difficult…difficult in the sense that it’s very unlikely that you will have synchronized waves hitting every rock at the same time. Time Blending will give you the option to capture waves crashing on different rocks at slightly different moments and later blend them manually with the help of Photoshop.

You would need to be extremely lucky to have beautiful water splashes everywhere at the same time! I'd say it is basically impossible to be that lucky! In order to create an image that has more impact all around, I used Time Blending and captured multiple frames as the waves were crashing in...final outcome below!


When ever you have imagination, Time Blending can be of monumental use in sketchy situations. Some purist photographers are against Time Blending as they say the final outcome isn’t from one single image straight out of the camera. Isn’t Photography Art? As far as I am concerned, as long as I create every little bit on my images, I am ok with some sort of Photoshop manipulation. I will not be shy to use such techniques in order to give myself full creative power over the final outcome of my Art.

Would you like to learn more in field techniques? Do you know how to do Focus Stacking? I have a whole article dedicated to that subject! Click here to see The Art of Focus Stacking!

Game of Thrones
Once all blended together, the impact created by the ocean here is out of this world! It requires a bit more time in the making of...but it is sure worth the effort!
Final Show
Here again, with all layers blended together, I was able to create an image that didn't have an empty hole in the sky, I was able to retain the rain curtains and the sun star.

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