Long Exposure Photography – The right technique

In our previous post, about Dynamic Range, we talked about the problem of over-exposure and how we can deal with it by the use of Graduated ND Filter & Circular Graduated ND Filter. In this one, let us talk about Long Exposure Photography.

Most of the times you will find yourself in a situation where the motion in your frame is worth capturing, you either want to freeze it or you deliberately blur it. There are lot of such examples – Waterfall, Flowing River, Speeding Traffic, Fireworks and to take it to extreme we always want to shoot the Star trail.

How do you do that? Of course, along with the right kind of equipment, you require a perfect camera technique and a know-how. Let’s take a closer look at things.

When you are going for really long exposure photography, please bear in your mind that over-exposure will be your constant companion. You really need to get comfortable in handling that. Using ND Filters and usage of higher F Number will be the two options for you. Doing landscape photography is also about having Deep Depth of Field; the higher F number is definitely going to help you.

Small Aperture openings also make brighter light sources (like Sun) have light streaks. This adds to the overall drama in the photograph.

Long Exposure Photography

Importantly, a very sturdy tripod is a must. If you are looking at Long Exposure Photography seriously, then invest into a tripod which is strong and heavy; do not go for a lightweight model. Weight will make your travel, hike or walk uncomfortable but it will definitely add to the stability when you are doing photography at extremely slow shutter speeds. I recommend tripods by Vanguard and Manfrotto as I have personally used those and never got disappointed. A lot of people when starting with landscape photography do away with tripods and end up clicking only fast speed photos thus limiting their creativity and art. Long exposure photography definitely adds charm to your photographs.

After taking control of your equipment, the next thing to look at is Exposure. While you get your Meter correct, make sure your Metering Mode is on Evaluative. This will enable you to meter the entire frame, that that is the crux of Landscape photos. Uniform exposure will make your photographs have better Dynamic Range. A side note – DO NOT climb up on higher side of ISO scale, using ISO 100 is really going to help you in maintaining the camera’s inherent Dynamic Range.

In case of water, long exposure gives it a silky matte look. Clouds also move across your frame and add a windy effect to the Landscape.

Long Exposure Photography - Star Trail

In case of moving lights, long exposure converts them into streaks of light. That is what makes a Star trail photographs so attractive and intriguing.
Overall, practicing Long Exposure Photography for landscapes is rewarding, if you use the right technique along with the right set of equipment.

For more such Photo Productive blogs visit PhotoHelp.
Happy Clicking!

Graduated ND Filter
Circular Graduated ND Filter
Vanguard Tripods
Manfrotto Tripods
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Angad Joshi

Angad Joshi

Angad Joshi is a freelance professional photographer. He runs photography studios by the brand name TimeFrame Studios in Pune and Dombivli. He indulges in Food, Fashion, Product and Wedding Photography and has a team of his own. He loves conducting indoor and outdoor photography training programs and photography tours of various genres across India.

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