Why long exposure photography? Long exposure ideas.
Why long exposure photography? There are many long exposure ideas to explore, in this article I will show you a few examples, but first let me explain what long exposure photography is.
Long exposure photography consists of the process of exposing the camera sensor (or film) for an extended period of time. This is quite normal in low light situations because of the low amount of light that reaches the sensor, but what if we wanted to extend the exposure in day light? With an enormous amount of light reaching the sensor it would be impossible without overexposing the image. In this case we would need a Neutral Density filter, or ND filter, that reduces equally the intensity of light entering the lens. My personal choice of ND filter is LEE Filters Big Stopper which reduces exposure by approximately 10 stops.
Reasons why you would use long exposure photography.
So… Why long exposure photography? There is a great number of situations when we could bring into play long exposure photography.
Long exposure ideas.
One of the most common long exposure ideas is seascape photography. By using a slow shutter speed we can capture an image that shows a prolonged period of time in one single frame rather than a frozen moment. It allows the image to show the movement of the water, giving a feeling of serenity and tranquillity. A fast shutter speed instead would show the power of the surf hitting the rocks on the beach.
A great example of long exposure is to make a waterfall look smooth and silky. Photographing waterfalls for an extended period of time gives a sense of peace and quietude. It lets the imagination play an important part, it also removes the loudness of the water falling with power.
It is important while photographing waterfalls to avoid direct sunlight on the water, that would blow up the highlights in the water and would create white patches with no details. The best time would be early morning, or preferably with a overcast or cloudy sky. I, sometimes, also use a polarising filter to remove reflected glare due to the light from the sun bouncing off the rock’s surface.
Personally one of my favourite long exposure ideas is to take photos of rivers, usually with bridges, where the long exposure photography approach enables me to smooth the water to a point that the river looks frozen. I believe it looks very appealing and entrancing.
Water reflection photography is a lot of fun. Why long exposure photography for water reflection? Because it is even more fun, we can control the effect of the reflection. For instance, a 5 second exposure would give a different result compared to a 10 or a 15 second exposure. The longer the time the more detailed the reflection would be.
Night photography, traffic light trails.
Night photography involves using long exposure photography technique. Considering the low amount of light hitting the camera sensor, it is crucial to have the camera mounted on a tripod in low light conditions to avoid unwanted camera shake effect.
An awesome example of long exposure is to photograph traffic light trails. The final image is always a surprise. We cannot expect the effect of the light trails captured in the frame, but we can and should always plan the composition of the image in advance by envisioning where the light trails will fall into the frame.
Always remember to keep it as simple as possible and most importantly… be safe!
Why long exposure photography? There are times in photography when we don’t want people in our frame. How annoying to have people taking selfies in your shot! Therefore, by using long exposure photography strategy we can eliminate this problem, we can blur them or make them to look like ghosts.
Distracting moving objects.
The same principle goes for unattractive floating objects that pollute the water in front of us like in a river, in a lake or in the sea.
Another great example of long exposure is taking a photo of moving clouds to make them look creamy. The sky, in my opinion, looks more attractive.
Still wondering why long exposure photography? The outcome is often exciting and highly rewarding. It is an advanced photography technique but with time you will get the hang of it.
So go out and get long exposing!
You may also want to check out my Scapes page for more photos on landscape photography.
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