Digital Photo Pro

Day to Night

When you first see a photograph by Stephen Wilkes from his “Day To Night” series—many of which can be seen in the recently published, beautifully designed monograph Stephen Wilkes: Day To Night—you’ll most likely experience two disparate sensations.

First, you’ll recognize the setting. Wilkes and his team have traveled to some of the world’s most well-known locations, including the Grand Canyon, Paris, Venice and several celebrated places in New York, including the Flatiron Building and Coney Island. In each image, the landscape is beautifully captured with vibrant color and incredible detail.

But as you study the light, you’ll feel a second sensation, a dissonance of sorts, that makes you question the photograph. The impression has nothing to do with the composition, per se. But you quickly realize the photograph, or, more precisely, the digital composite image isn’t depicting an instant or “decisive moment.” Instead, Wilkes constructs each photo by carefully combining and blending dozens of digital images together. In doing so, he expands that moment in each photograph into a 24-hour segment of time.

Take his image of Coney Island: On the right, you see the beach captured in the bright sunlight. But look at the opposite side, and you notice the amusement park rides are shot at night. There’s even motion blur in

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