How to: take long exposure photos - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 

Go Back   Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums > Consumer Electronics and Home Computing > Portable Electronics: Digital Cameras, Camcorders, ebook Readers, iPods, MP3 Players and GPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

Old 2008-03-04, 07:32 PM   #1
talljak
Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Edmonton AB
Posts: 2,191
Default How to: take long exposure photos

Long exposure photos, tips, tricks and sharing.

Anyone can take long exposure photos as long as you have 2 things.
1. You will need a camera that lets you manually set the shutter speed.
2. A tripod or something solid to place your camera on.

When taking a long exposure photo your are allowing more time for the light to collect on the sensor of your camera (or film if you are old school)

The best time for a long exposure photo is at night time or in low light.
You can get some amazing effects with a long exposure photo. Waterfalls will become milky, lights will sparkle and traffic will have amazing light tails.

Taking long exposure photos is all about experimenting to find out how long the shutter will need to stay open for the effect you desire.

A long exposure can be a relative term because a photo with a shutter speed of a few seconds does not seem all that long. But remember that most cameras usually take a normal photo at about 1/125th of a second.

Set your camera to manual or shutter mode and lower the shutter speed down to something fairly low like 1/4 of a second or slower. On most cameras once you start going into full seconds this will be displayed like this : 1", 4", 6" etc.

You will need to use a tripod or set your camera on something solid to help prevent camera shake. As you will not be able to hand hold a camera at such slow a speed.
If you find your photos are still a bit blurry even on a tripod you might be pumping the camera a bit when you press the shutter. To solve this use the self timer feature and stay clear of the camera while it takes the photo.

I like to keep my ISO below 400 when I do slow exposures but this can be a personal preference.

Post your photos, share about your long exposure experiences and ask any questions if you have them or share some tips that you find helpful.

2 of my long exposure photos

8 seconds at F8

This photo I took when it was only dusk and it was still to bright to get the result I wanted so I cranked up the aperture a bit and used a Natural Density filter. This helped prevent over exposure and still get the milky waterfall effect I was after.

10 seconds at F5.6
__________________
I have a photographic memory, trouble is most times the lens cap is on.
talljak is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 2008-03-04, 07:45 PM   #2
57
Moderator
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Toronto, Rogers, 9865 & 8300-eHDD, Panasonic TCP65S1, Denon AVR4310Ci; Sony KDL40W3000, 8300-eHDD
Posts: 52,402
Default

A few other points.

1. On some cameras there's a "Bulb" setting - this is from the old days when people used to actually use a "bulb" to start/release the shutter.

2. Some cameras have a spot for a cable release - can be used instead of a self timer, especially for a "bulb" setting so that you can time the exposure yourself.

3. Film has "reciprocity", therefore you need to expose night shots longer than a meter would indicate - sometimes as much as a factor of 4. A meter reading of 15 seconds may in actuality take 60 seconds for a proper exposure. Bracketing is obviously a good idea.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reciprocity_(photography)

4. Some cameras do not allow for longer exposures. I have "tricked" these cameras into a longer eposure in a couple of ways.

- Use the backlight setting - this increases exposure by about 1.5 stops.
- Temporarily change the ISO to a low ISO. - this increases the exposure by the ratio of the "real" ISO to the "fake" ISO (film cameras). This is useful if you don't have a tripod and are setting your camera on something to use the self timer and the shutter speed setting doesn't allow for a long exposure.

Question.

5. Do digital cameras have reciprocity?
__________________
57's Optimization Services (Home Theatre Optimization) . . . . 57's Home Theatre (Latest equipment & photos)
57 is offline  
Old 2008-03-04, 07:55 PM   #3
talljak
Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Edmonton AB
Posts: 2,191
Default

Thanks for adding those tips 57

More advanced digital cameras do have a bulb mode and when you press the shutter release you start the exposure and when you let go this will stop the exposure. Like 57 said this is a good time to use a remote as you are likely to shake the camera holding down the shutter.

I also forgot to mention that most cameras have a slowest shutter speed of 30 seconds in manual or shutter mode.
If you want to go longer you will need a remote for bulb or hook your camera up to your computer if your model allows for this and program in the length of exposure.

Quote:
Question.

4. Do digital cameras have reciprocity?
I believe that this only effects film cameras.
__________________
I have a photographic memory, trouble is most times the lens cap is on.
talljak is offline  
Old 2008-03-12, 11:41 AM   #4
David Susilo
Veteran
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: in my home theatre
Posts: 3,540
Default

here's a sample of superlong exposure I took. It was taken at night with moving cloud (it was very windy). As you can see the resulting picture is somewhat eerie (to me, at least).

The only problem when taking the pic is that it's so dark I don't know whether the church is already in focus (setting the lens to infinity makes the church blurry).

http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p...urchatDusk.jpg
__________________
THX, ISF, Control4 Certified Professional; CEDIA Certified Instructor; CEDIA Certified Designer
David Susilo is offline  
Old 2008-03-12, 12:46 PM   #5
PokerChip
Veteran
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: New house and HT, Shaw Gateway + 4 portals, BB50
Posts: 2,263
Default

Great idea for a thread.

talljak, that first shot is absolutely stunning. This one of the things I would really like to experiment on in the near future.
__________________
Pics of my Home Theatre *Updated May 2013*: http://www.flickr.com/photos/61688086@N05/
PokerChip is offline  
Old 2008-03-12, 02:01 PM   #6
talljak
Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Edmonton AB
Posts: 2,191
Default

David, the cloud look with the church is a very cool effect.
I find on super long exposures things can get a little blurry. Not sure why that is.
I want to do some long exposure astro-photography but I want to buy a external remote for the camera first.

Pokerchip, thanks for the compliments.
I took the the photo in the last week of September just before 9. It was actually darker then it shows, but the long exposure made it look like it was earlier in the day.
__________________
I have a photographic memory, trouble is most times the lens cap is on.
talljak is offline  
Old 2008-03-12, 02:10 PM   #7
Stargazer
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Coquitlam, BC
Posts: 926
Default

Another tip:

You can use the self-timer on the camera to eliminate shake on the tripod if you don't have a remote shutter release.

Here's one of my first long exposures with my DSLR.

Vancouver skyline at night from Spanish Banks:

http://flickr.com/photos/istargazer/...7600929206342/

Because it was quite dark at the time, I had no idea there were people standing on the beach until after I had downloaded the pictures to my computer.

Last edited by Stargazer; 2008-03-12 at 02:16 PM.
Stargazer is offline  
Old 2008-03-12, 02:22 PM   #8
David Susilo
Veteran
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: in my home theatre
Posts: 3,540
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by talljak View Post
David, the cloud look with the church is a very cool effect.
I find on super long exposures things can get a little blurry. Not sure why that is.
I want to do some long exposure astro-photography but I want to buy a external remote for the camera first.

Pokerchip, thanks for the compliments.
I took the the photo in the last week of September just before 9. It was actually darker then it shows, but the long exposure made it look like it was earlier in the day.
For astrophotography you'll get the semicircle effect with the long exposure. YOu don't really need remote for that, just use mirror lock up and timer. For my shot of the church, I can't take off my glove because it was freezing cold that day (about 10:30pm, gusty wind, almost winter) so I just used MLU and timer.

For longer exposure the bluriness come from ground vibration and/or wind. This is why I strongly recommend HEAVY tripod with the middle column weighted even further (you can use bags of sand).
__________________
THX, ISF, Control4 Certified Professional; CEDIA Certified Instructor; CEDIA Certified Designer
David Susilo is offline  
Old 2008-03-12, 02:46 PM   #9
Stargazer
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Coquitlam, BC
Posts: 926
Default

I enjoy taking long exposure shots because I don't like using the flash at night. Here's a picture from an underground garage taken with 3 different long exposures:

Stargazer is offline  
Old 2008-03-12, 02:55 PM   #10
David Susilo
Veteran
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: in my home theatre
Posts: 3,540
Default

that's just amazing!
__________________
THX, ISF, Control4 Certified Professional; CEDIA Certified Instructor; CEDIA Certified Designer
David Susilo is offline  
Old 2008-03-12, 03:23 PM   #11
talljak
Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Edmonton AB
Posts: 2,191
Default

Quote:
For astrophotography you'll get the semicircle effect with the long exposure. YOu don't really need remote for that, just use mirror lock up and timer.
I want to go longer then 30 seconds though, thats the max I can do on my 30D with out a remote or hooking it up to my computer.
Thanks for the tripod sand bag tip I will remember to do that when I get around to trying it out.


Stargazer, Wow! nice photo its got a lot of pop and dynamic range good job.
__________________
I have a photographic memory, trouble is most times the lens cap is on.
talljak is offline  
Old 2008-03-12, 04:02 PM   #12
Tezster
Veteran
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Mississauga
Posts: 1,986
Default

FYI for any long exposure shots of the night sky, you will need a *very* dark sky i.e. much darker than your typical suburban neighbourhood, otherwise, the background light pollution will quickly saturate the entire frame, and the picture will come out very washed out.

Either that, or you will need to stack several shorter length exposure shots while doing some creative post-processing to minimize the visible effects of light pollution.
Tezster is offline  
Old 2008-03-12, 04:18 PM   #13
talljak
Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Edmonton AB
Posts: 2,191
Default

Yes, I am aware of the light pollution. I plan to take the photos at the lake, where my flashlight will be the only source of light.
I wouldn't attempt it in the city because you just can not see the stars that well.
__________________
I have a photographic memory, trouble is most times the lens cap is on.
talljak is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:51 AM.

Search Digital Home

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.