When you think of Long Exposure (LE) photography, do you immediately conjure up images of night scenes, fireworks, or star trails? You know, dark scenes requiring long exposures. Although all of those qualify, we want to discuss shooting in daylight and using long exposure techniques. You’ll need a bit of extra gear to accomplish these types of shots, but the results can be stunning.
This method has gained popularity in the last few years. Using ND filters to drastically cut the light coming into your lens – 10 stops or more – and allowing exposures of minutes instead of a fraction of a second. And many practitioners of LE photography convert their images to B&W.
Compositionally, these images contain a stationary object along with a foreground or background component in motion. Clouds and water are the most common things, and these minutes long exposures turn these areas milky and smooth. architecture and landscapes are the favorite target of many LE photographers.
So How Do You Do It?
Focus Camera club member Kevin Holliday has mastered the art of LE photography. And he was gracious enough to present a Program for us in February 2017. This tutorial contains his presentation PDF along with some additional materials. Although you won’t gain all the knowledge shared during that Program, reading through the presentation PDF you’ll gain an understanding of the process, tools, and methods so you can successfully tackle this interesting shooting technique. There are many before and after shots in the PDF which will help you in the first step – previsualization.
The Basic Workflow
All of these steps are covered in Kevin’s PDF, and the additional materials will give you info on his camera gear, filters to use, and post processing.
Previsualization – Sometimes difficult for photographers, but especially with LE photography. You have to imagine what part of the composition will be blurred and what will not.
Setup and Shooting – Don’t start with the camera on the tripod. Freehand for a while looking for the right composition and THEN get your camera on the tripod. Look in Kevin’s Capture Steps PDF for detailed step by step instructions for focus, exposure, and taking the shot.
Post Processing – Though you may not follow all of Kevin’s steps (he spends hours on each image) he will give you ideas on how to proceed with your own images. His Processing Steps PDF is included in the Additional Materials download.
Grab The Goods
In this LE Tutorial Zip File (click to download or right click and Save As…) you’ll get the Presentation PDF and all the additional materials talked about above. Recommended gear, Kevin’s Gear Bag, Capture Steps, a Stop Chart for calculating exposures, and his Processing Steps. The download is about 7 Meg.
Enjoy your Long Exposure shoot and be sure to share your results on the Focus Camera Facebook Page. (you have to be a Facebook user to post)