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Light Trails With Pentax Gear

Light Trails With Pentax Gear - Have a go at photographing light trails with your Pentax gear.

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New York

Photo by David Clapp

The nights are drawing in, and although it's getting colder, the extra hours of dark give you the perfect opportunity to head out and take some shots of light trails with your Pentax gear. Here are some top tips for achieving great light trail photos:

Up High - A great place to photograph light trails is from up high. The traditional vantage point would be a bridge over a busy road, but hills overlooking roads or even your bedroom window might be a good vantage point for some light trail photos. 

Interest - It might sound obvious, but try to find a place which has a little more interest in the shot than just a straight road. A country road might give a bit more interest, with windy corners creating sweeping curves in the light trails. Roundabouts or junctions are also good spots for creating patterns with light trails, as long as you can find somewhere safe from which to photograph them. Including city architecture in the shot will also make your photo more visually appealing.

Tripod - You'll need to use a tripod to make sure your image is crisp when using long exposures. If you don't camera shake will most likely ruin your images as they'll need to be exposed for quite a long time to capture light trails. 

Long Exposure - To capture nice long light trails from traffic, you'll need to use a shutter speed of at least a few seconds depending on how fast traffic is flowing and how much of it there is. If it's not busy, try setting a longer shutter speed and covering the lens when nothing's coming to avoid the image getting overexposed. An aperture of f/8 or f/11 will most likely work best. 

Remote Release/ Self Timer - To stop accidental shake when you press the shutter button, it's best to use a remote release, so you don't have to touch the camera to trigger it. Don't worry if you don't have one, though, as the self-timer function on your camera should do the trick too. Pentax's latest offerings, such as the K-1 DSLR, have a fantastic shake reduction (SR system) built-in, enabling you to shoot at up to 5 stops slower hand-held and still achieve super sharp results.  

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