Orton Technique

Originally uploaded by StarbuckGuy

My first ‘new’ learning in 2008 started when I joined the Orton group on Flickr. They have two tutorial links on Orton technique, an article-based tutorial and an excellent video-based tutorial. Armed with these tutorials, I was able to get started.

As Darwin Wigget says in his article on Orton:

Early in my career as a professional photographer, I came across an article by Michael Orton in Popular Photography that literally stopped me in my tracks. The images included with the article were landscape and nature photos unlike anything I had seen before. The photos were painterly, ethereal, and romantic.

And ethereal they are. They were originally invented by Michael Orton who created them by shooting one slide overexposing a scene by 2 f-stops, then shooting another slide of the scene overexposed with the lens defocused and set to its maximum aperture. The two slides were then sandwiched together.

Obviously it’s much easier to do this with a digital image (taken with a digicam or scanned from film) and any photo editor that can do layers.

To date I’ve done three Orton images and intend to do more when I have the right kind of subject matter. I’ve created an Orton Image Set on Flickr where I’ll post my attempts.

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