Have you seen photographs of galaxies, light trails, star trails, smooth flowing waterfalls and ever wondered how these images were made ? well predominantly those photos are achieved through long exposure technique.
Most of us are fascinated by long exposure photo technique (the process of taking a single photo for more than one second) as it creates dramatic and supernatural character to the elements present in the photo. The technique is simple and if done properly will get us a few spectacular shots.
Long exposure simply means prolonged exposure to the camera sensor with a slow shutter speed. This is usually done at night with the help of a tripod or monopod, to capture light trails on the road, stars and galaxies in the sky, smooth waterfalls, and even creative designs using any source of light.
I was eager to test this technique ever since I learned about it a few years back and once I had my camera I started shooting at night like I had Insomnia.
Roaming the streets of the city gave me few good shots, but it also invited curious cops. I recommend comfortable clothes as you will have to walk a lot seeking good shots. Certain shots have to be done in complete darkness (for stars and galaxies) to avoid over exposure of street lights and other disturbances and these need to done in remote areas like a forest. But I would recommend to use caution before wandering off anywhere without security or extra help (as I have done several times).
For starters the camera settings can be confusing to achieve a long exposure shot as it is not just about prolonging the exposure.
The aperture/f stop needs to set according the scene that we are shooting, along with the ISO, time delay and the focus points. Always use a remote to activate the shutter to avoid shaky and blurry images.
For a fairly lit road in a city I would recommend a tripod with the settings of shutter speed from 5-10 seconds with a 2 seconds delay for the shutter, around 200-500 ISO, and 5.6-8 of f stops.
If you ever plan to use this technique in the daylight (for waterfalls and beaches) you will definitely need a ND (Neutral Density) filter that helps reduce the light from over exposing the photo.
Shooting long exposures can demand an adventurous initiative, but at the end when you finally process the export the photo there will surely be a smile on your face.
Hope you enjoyed this photo-experience as much as I enjoyed doing it.
All comments and discussions are welcome, keep coming back to this space for more such photo-experiences. Thank you for your time.