Long Exposure Photography Tutorial Redux
In this video tutorial we show you how to take long exposure photographs. If you have never seen long exposure photography before you are in for a treat and capturing these images brings new challenges and creative possibilities. Essentially what is happening is by increasing the exposure time we introduce movement into our image that would normally be frozen and it gives the picture added interest and a look that would not be seen by your own eyes.
This video focuses on capturing a long exposure landscape during the day but the principles are the same no matter how you use long exposure photography.
You will already understand the exposure triangle so when increasing exposure time we need to balance things by reducing ISO or making our aperture smaller to prevent the image being over exposed. However, in daylight conditions, even with ISO at 100 and aperture at say f/16, your shot could be over exposed before even one second has passed. To achieve the desired effect we want our exposure to be at least 30 seconds. The only way to do this is to use ND filters. These are filters added to the front of your lens that reduce the amount of light passing through the lens without severely affecting the colour. ND filters are rated by how many stops of light they reduce the exposure by. For example if you attach a 2 stop filter to your lens you will need to increase exposure in your camera by the same 2 stops to obtain a proper exposure.
Neutral Density Filters
In the tutorial we are using a 6 stop filter combined with a 10 stop filter to give a full 16 stops of light reduction which allows us to get some extremely long exposures of several minutes, even in bright daylight conditions.
Exposures of this length have a number of uses. It will reduce the roughest waters to a smooth tranquil scene and add lots of movement to even the slowest moving clouds. In city scenes it can also be used to remove people from your images. At night it can be used for star trail shots and create interesting and varied light painting images. The resulting image will often have a fine art feel, especially when carefully converted to black and white.
Shutter Release Cable
In addition to the ND filter you will also need a shutter release cable allowing you to lock the shutter open when using the bulb mode. Keeping your camera very still is also essential so a good sturdy tripod is handy. If you don't have a tripod you could also place your camera down on a wall or some raised ground. A bean bag can be used to allow a small amount of adjustment or to keep things level on an uneven surface. When using a DSLR it is worth covering your viewfinder with some gaff tape or a viewfinder cap because light can creep in and ruin your image.
Once you are armed with this knowledge and the few tools you need; get out and take some pictures. It is an amazing motivation to go and see the world.
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