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'Long Exposure's' advice for a novice.


Henners88 6 204 United Kingdom
17 Aug 2011 11:45AM
Hello,

I consider myself a novice photographer and bought my first DSLR back in 2008. I have developed an interest in beach photography, especially as the sun is going down so you can produce long exposure shots. I've attempted it and have some examples in my portfolio but looking at others like in the link, I'd like to know how its done properly.

http://theroxor.com/2010/01/12/30-breathtaking-long-exposure-photos-with-water/

I'm off to Gower in South West Wales for a few days at the end of the month and would really like to use this opportunity to practice this technique. I have a Canon 1000D which is quite a basic camera so it doesn't have built in light metering which I understand gives a good guild for shutter speeds and apertures. My main lens is a Canon EFS 17-85mm IS and I have a tripod. I appreciate the guy in the link is a pro and stuff like this takes alot of practice and patience but I was wondering if any of you guys have any tips? (i.e settings to try, will I need ND filters, are colours often enhanced post processing etc?).

This is probably quite a broad field and advice might be difficult to give, but I'd appreciate any suggestions really.

Thanks in advance
Henry Smile

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StuartAt Plus
10 1.1k 8 England
17 Aug 2011 12:07PM
It is a broad subject and there are many considerations. With regards to your camera, I would say you have a perfectly good cam there, and it is quite capable of very good pics.

With regard to filters - ND filters will be useful to you to get long exposures, but you can also achieve this by going to the location before the sun comes up or after it goes down. Graduated ND filters are probably more useful as they allow you to balance a bright sky with a darker foreground without blowing the exposure. Different shutter speeds will give different effects and it is worth experimenting with everything - anything over about 1/30th of a second will give you some movement in water, but if you want silky smooth 'fog-type' water then you should be aiming somewhere above 10 or 20 seconds, and to do this in daylight you will definitely need some sort of ND filter.

There is a very good article in the upcoming Advanced Photographer magazine covering this sort of thing - might be worth a look.
StuartAt Plus
10 1.1k 8 England
17 Aug 2011 12:13PM
Something I didn't mention is that it is useful to have a method of locking the shutter open (like a remote shutter release). If I am doing 'foggy sea' type shots, I tend to set the shutter on 'bulb' rather than letting the camera do its own thing (this is partly because I am a fan of the Lee Big Stopper - a 10 stop ND) and this lets you do this without needing to touch the camera. Clearly a tripod is needed for this sort of thing.
Stubill 6 107 England
17 Aug 2011 12:16PM

Quote:I have a Canon 1000D which is quite a basic camera so it doesn't have built in light metering which I understand gives a good guild for shutter speeds and apertures


Well, first things first, Henry, yes your camera does have in built light metering.
When you look through the viewfinder and half press the shutter - it's the little line that moves right or left as you change either the shutter speed, aperture or ISO.

I would recommend getting hold of a copy of 'Understanding Exposure' written by Bryan Peterson. An excellent place to start IMO.

Stu
Henners88 6 204 United Kingdom
17 Aug 2011 12:27PM
Thanks Stuart have you any idea when the issue for Advanced Photographer is released? Just did a google search and doesn't give a date although the webpage showed the magazine with the article on it. I suppose with this type of photography its getting the balance right and having the patience. I've spent quite a few hours in the past on Llangrannog beach trying this out but never quite got the same results as I've seen. I also suspect alot of post processing in packages like Lightroom can be used to enhance colours and textures etc. I think part of my problem is I have shot in Jpeg rather than Raw I'll certainly buy the magazine. Thanks again. Smile
Henners88 6 204 United Kingdom
17 Aug 2011 12:36PM

Quote:
Well, first things first, Henry, yes your camera does have in built light metering.
When you look through the viewfinder and half press the shutter - it's the little line that moves right or left as you change either the shutter speed, aperture or ISO.

I would recommend getting hold of a copy of 'Understanding Exposure' written by Bryan Peterson. An excellent place to start IMO.

Stu


Thanks I wasn't aware of that. Smile
Just had a look for that book and its only a tenner on ebay, I appreciate the tip.
StuartAt Plus
10 1.1k 8 England
17 Aug 2011 12:38PM
Not sure when the mag comes out as I get it on subscription and it arrived on Monday (so will probably be a while before it is in shops).

With regards to post-processing, I rarely do anything other than the usual cropping and sharpness. If you look in my p/f you will see that you get quite a variety of colours depending on how long/short your exposure time is and when you are taking the pics. Before sunrise and after sunset, everying takes on a blue-ish hue which you can accentuate by underexposing. During sunrise (or sunset) the colours you see vary hugely depending on the volume of clouds cover. To my mind, Photoshop or Lightroom should only be used to 'enhance' a shot - it is difficult/impossible to use it to turn a rubbish shot into a great one, and this is particularly true of landscape work (in my opinion).
adrian_w Plus
7 3.5k 4 Scotland
17 Aug 2011 12:55PM

Quote:you get quite a variety of colours depending on how long/short your exposure time is


I know that the colour balance of film changes when you use long exposure times; does the same also occur with sensors?
Andy_Cundell 4 1.1k 5 England
17 Aug 2011 12:56PM
Ive just bought an ND filter to try and get this type of image. My 'mentor' is Paul , he has some outstanding stuff.

I've not had anything decent yet but am still trying!

Andy
StuartAt Plus
10 1.1k 8 England
17 Aug 2011 1:13PM

Quote:I know that the colour balance of film changes when you use long exposure times; does the same also occur with sensors?


I'm not sure if you could describe it as colour balance change, but the if you take a look at my pic you will see what I mean. Admittedly, this may be further affected by the Big Stopper, but the blue cast is definitely partly a product of the exposure (I guess another way of looking at it is that it might be a product of under-exposure).
Henners88 6 204 United Kingdom
17 Aug 2011 2:05PM

Quote:Ive just bought an ND filter to try and get this type of image. My 'mentor' is Paul, he has some outstanding stuff.

I've not had anything decent yet but am still trying!

Andy


Pauls portfolio shows examples of the type of result I hope to get eventually, wonderful stuff. I already have an ND4 and an ND8 filter so I have some of the right tools it seems. Some interesting replies, thanks. Smile
adrian_w Plus
7 3.5k 4 Scotland
17 Aug 2011 2:28PM
Stuart, I've seen a few pictures like that, all taken pre-sunrise. Do you get the same colour effect at shorter shutter speeds/ wider apertures? Obviously you would lose depth of field & sharpness but do you get the same colour effect?
StuartAt Plus
10 1.1k 8 England
17 Aug 2011 2:53PM
I did a poppy field in the middle of the day ( here ) which doesn't show anything like the same level of 'blue-ness' although it is possible that this wasn't underexposed. I think the problem is that with the Big Stopper it is very easy to under or over expose - the Caister shot was about 8 minutes and the light was changing quite alot during that exposure, so potentially at sunset you need to allow longer than originally calculated (because it is darker at the end of the exposure than at the start). In the middle of the day, the light remains constant throughout the exposure (and the exposure times are not quite so long).
Grampy 5 507 71 England
17 Aug 2011 4:38PM
You might be interested in a free video lesson that includes the use of polarising filters for landscapes ,it's here [link removed, please see terms and conditions]
Phill
Henners88 6 204 United Kingdom
17 Aug 2011 6:34PM

Quote:You might be interested in a free video lesson that includes the use of polarising filters for landscapes ,it's here [link removed, please see terms and conditions]
Phill


Hi Phill, could you possibly PM me the link you had in your post as I opened it earlier and had a quick look and didn't save it. Annoyingly it has been removed since then.. Sad

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