Long Exposure Photography
There are many long exposure photography ideas to explore.
In this article I’ll give 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; Hence, allowing to extend the exposure time without overexposing.
My personal choice of ND filter is LEE Filters Big Stopper which reduces exposure by 10 stops.
Reasons to Use Long Exposure
So… Why long exposure photography?
There’s a great number of situations when we could bring into play long exposure photography.
In this article you will find a few long exposure examples.
Long Exposure Ideas
Certainly, the most common long exposure photography idea 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.
Similarly, a great example of long exposure is to make a waterfall look smooth and silky.
Furthermore, 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’s important, while photographing waterfalls, to avoid direct sunlight on the water, for the reason that would blow up the highlights in the water and would create white patches with no details.
So, the best time would be early morning, or preferably with an overcast or a 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.
Above all, one of my favourite long exposure photography ideas is to take photos of rivers, usually with bridges.
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’s 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, also, involves using long exposure photography technique.
Due to the low amount of light that hits the camera sensor, it’s crucial to have the camera mounted on a tripod in low light conditions to avoid unwanted camera shake effect.
Traffic Light Trails
Another awesome long exposure photography idea is to photograph traffic light trails.
The final image is always a surprise.
While, we cannot expect the effect of the light trails captured in the frame. 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!
Ferris Wheel Light Trails
A safer example of long exposure is to photograph ferris wheels at night.
Again, the end result is always unexpected and impressing.
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
Similarly, 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!
For landscape photography of Southeast Asia, please, visit my Scapes page.
You may also want to check out my other travel articles on my blog posts page.
Don’t miss a thing
Subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest blog entries and updates in your inbox. Your email address will not be sold or used for purposes other than subscription for the newsletter.