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Long exposure at the beach

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Having been left frustrated after several previous attempts, I spent 3 hours down at the beach this afternoon getting to grips with long exposures.

Over 100 shots experimenting with various settings and feel I've made progress... 4 or 5 resulting images were something like the 'moving water' feel I was trying to capture.

Critique and advice greatly appreciated... tips in this technique welcomed.

Camera was set to Tv (exposure priority) mode, tripod mounted, ND8 and ND4 neutral density filters attached.

ISO fixed at 100
F/29
2 sec.

I tweaked the RAW image in Canon's Digital Photo Professional, saved in TIFF format, and further adjusted colours, contrast, etc. in PSP X2.

Thanks for your comments.

Camera:Canon EOS 550D
Lens:Canon @ 29mm
Recording media:RAW (digital)
Title:Long exposure at the beach
Username:SteveNZ SteveNZ
Uploaded:24 Apr 2010 - 1:36 PM
Tags:Beach, Exposure, General, Landscape / travel, Long, Moving, Ocean, Sea, Spray, Water, Wildlife / nature
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Comments

This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.
shreel
shreel  4 India1 Constructive Critique Points
24 Apr 2010 - 1:41 PM

good effect especially with such a shot exposure...
out of those 100 shots..did u try any without the filters?
if yes then wat setting did u use?
1 more thing...the sky looks a bit off...slightly overexposed i guess...

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SteveNZ
SteveNZ  6 United Kingdom5 Constructive Critique Points
24 Apr 2010 - 1:53 PM


Quote: Good effect especially with such a shot exposure...
out of those 100 shots..did u try any without the filters?
if yes then wat setting did u use?
1 more thing...the sky looks a bit off...slightly overexposed i guess...

Thanks Shreel,
I didn't try shooting without filters as the earlier afternoon shots suffered over-exposure even with the two filters on.
The sky at this time was mostly white cloud. Shots from later in the afternoon had different cloud and photographed nicely.
Thanks for your comment.
Steve.

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OliPackwood
24 Apr 2010 - 2:04 PM

Nice shot, i think you've got just the right shutter speed there.

Oli

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jeronius
jeronius  5 England1 Constructive Critique Points
24 Apr 2010 - 2:05 PM

Its a superb effort. Did you use grad NDs?
For even longer exposures I would try evening shots, easier in low light, and you can manage to capture lovely light. (Nessie shots in my gallery), I also tend to use aperature priority f22, gives long exposures with really good DoF.
I am no expert, but these are the sort of things I do...
Cracking effort though.
Jerry

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SteveNZ
SteveNZ  6 United Kingdom5 Constructive Critique Points
24 Apr 2010 - 2:13 PM


Quote: Nice shot, i think you've got just the right shutter speed there.

Oli

Thanks Oli... 2 seconds (give or take a fraction either side) seemed to work the best in today's circumstances.

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SteveNZ
SteveNZ  6 United Kingdom5 Constructive Critique Points
24 Apr 2010 - 2:24 PM


Quote: Its a superb effort. Did you use grad NDs?
For even longer exposures I would try evening shots, easier in low light, and you can manage to capture lovely light. (Nessie shots in my gallery), I also tend to use aperature priority f22, gives long exposures with really good DoF.
I am no expert, but these are the sort of things I do...
Cracking effort though.
Jerry

Cheers Jerry,
I only have plain NDs. (Grad NDs sound like a whole new kettle of fish to contend with!) One thing I did learn today was that later in the afternoon gave better results. I also managed a few shots between 4 and 6 seconds but they didn't give the effect I expected. I did switch to aperture priority for a few shots, but felt more comfortable with exposure priority.
Shall have a look at your Nessie shots shortly!
Thanks for your comment.
Steve.

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ripleysalien
24 Apr 2010 - 3:39 PMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

Hi Steve, you need to shoot about an hour before sunset or within the golden hours, witch is about half hour before sunrise tll the light gets too harsh, and about an hour before sunset till the light goes but watch for the afterglow as it can be better than the sunset itself.
To get movement in the midday times you may need an ND10 or Big Stopper filter to get the shutter speed slow enough for water movement.
If all you have are NDs then you could try stacking them, ie 2 or 3 together, just remember this is 6 more surfaces for the light to bounce around and increases the chances of flare.
Hope thats of some use.

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brownbear
brownbear  5 England2 Constructive Critique Points
24 Apr 2010 - 3:55 PM

Thanks for your comment on mine, I was expecting zilch response,
Re your pic, must have a real hardship spending 3hrs on the beach!
However time well spent really good photo, the spray from rocks has worked just right. Might have cropped in closer from left and top, but it's all personal taste, As far as camera goes, could be worth looking up a guy called Ironman on the site, I work with him, and he needs to get out more! But he knows his way round a cannon camera.

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LeighRebecca
24 Apr 2010 - 8:02 PMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

Hi Steve. I agree with 'Ripleysalien' above about the very best times to shoot this sort of shot. Then you may not even need the ND's for a 2 sec exposure. What you would certainly need in most instances is a good ND grad (lots of landscape togs rarely shoot without, just because the sky is almost invariably stops lighter than the ground/water). Otherwise, you could take a couple of exposures - including one that gets all the detail in the sky, and merge that back in with the standard exposure image. Sometimes I find I need to do that as well as having the ND grad on. It's certainly worth trying, and it's worth getting out for the 'golden hours' for the quality of the light and colour in the sky.
Hope that helps.

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iotum
iotum  4 Scotland
25 Apr 2010 - 11:42 AM

One other bit of advice I've learnt the hard way - if you're using a small aperture to keep the exposure time long then you're risking making any dust marks on the sensor much more obvious.
Give the sensor a quick blow before setting out to minimise the amount of touching up you'll need to do post process.

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SteveNZ
SteveNZ  6 United Kingdom5 Constructive Critique Points
25 Apr 2010 - 12:39 PM

Thank you all for your comments and advice... I'll be taking this all onboard and putting into practice on my next shoot.
I have learnt a few things from you - greatly appreciate you imparting your wisdom!
Steve.

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NEWMANP
NEWMANP e2 Member 61587 forum postsNEWMANP vcard United Kingdom574 Constructive Critique Points
25 Apr 2010 - 9:30 PMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

hello.
you had some great advice already, but since i love doing this sort of thing i thought id just recap and give my 2 penneth.

firstly i like the composition, location etc. the overall exposures not too bad but there are a few problems. ill just highlight those and then run over a few things that may help.

you exposed so far to the right of the histograph that the whites are blowing or close to it, also the sky has overexposed with the metering weighted to the foreground rocks.

its usually best to take these sort of shots in low light, just before sunrise or just after sunset is superb for reducing the dynamic range and brings the levls between sky and water much closer.

with a foreground like this its pretty usual to need nd grads to balance the sky with the water. try 3 stops or 2 stops often works. hard edge grads are often best but where cliffs break the horizon soft grads are more useful. this will help you retain some detail in the sky. another way would be to bracket exposures so you can merge a sky with another exposed for the FG.

ND grads are useful for slowing things down in daylight but at dawn with f20 you can usually obtain 1/4 to 2 secs and unless you want the dead smooth 10 stop look these will often provide the best results. look for the ebb with the water streaking back to the sea, this often adds impact.

during post processing, burning and dodging can make a huge difference to the drama of the water movement.

hope this helps.

Phil
Phil

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SteveNZ
SteveNZ  6 United Kingdom5 Constructive Critique Points
26 Apr 2010 - 12:06 PM

Thanks Phil, and thank you to all who critiqued.
Very happy to report good results putting this new found knowledge into practice today: click to see new upload
Cheers -- Steve.

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