Friday, 11 July 2014

How I capture long exposures

The difference between taking a picture during the day and taking a picture in the evening or at night is the amount of light that reaches the camera sensor, in the day time you can shoot at 1/250 at f9 because of the quantity of light. But as the quantity of fades due to the Sun setting, you need to keep your shutter open for longer to get an even exposure for your image.

How do we do this?

For long exposures you will need a sturdy tripod, (the weight of your camera and lens will define which tripod you should use), the tripod is there to remove any camera shake, hand holding an image can induce camera shake even if you have very sturdy hands, at 1-2 second exposures you will start to see camera shake in your images. Putting the camera on a tripod will remove this shake.

Secondly you will want to use a remote control (preferably wireless), the remote control is there so you do not have to touch the camera when taking the pictures, its best to set up the camera, and then open the shutter with the remote.

Lastly you will need a torch, this is mainly a personal choice for me as I want to make sure the image I am creating is in focus, so I hold the torch on the point where I want to focus and use the autofocus system in the camera.

So let me shine some light on the first two images, the first image (at the top) was taken in my first year of university, I had just bought my Sigma 10-20mm f3.5 lens and I was out in the evening just experimenting with it. The settings were 10mm at f20 at 30seconds at 100 ISO, I make it a point that whenever I can shoot at ISO 100 I do so, and as I had my tripod I had no excuse not to.

I really love the colour of the sky and the low angle of the image and the star bursts.

The second image was taken in a car, I set up my tripod in the back of a car and got my friends to drive me around for a bit, I used my friends and the windscreen to compose my shot, and underexposed slightly so they would be silhouetted against the street lights. I shot this at f22 at 30seconds at 10mm.

For this shot I set up my camera with my 10-20mm lens again, and then used a torch to "paint" the bench. I used a 30second exposure at f11. I love the separation between the sky and the trees and then the main focus of the bench. 

I shot this image a little differently than the rest, I shot this with my 24-70mm f2.8, I used f4.5 at 1/30 at ISO 200 (this was handheld) I was experimenting with some long exposure techniques. I pointed my camera up at the trees, and zoomed out when I took the picture. I am very happy with how this picture turned out, it feels like the sky is falling down.

Lastly this is a picture I captured in the Summer of 2012, this was taken just before Sunset, and I was getting shutter speeds of 1.60 and 1/50 but for the picture I wanted to create I needed a longer shutter speed. I ended up capturing this image at 1/4 of a second at f22 ISO 100, to achieve this I used a Neutral Density filter. ND filters reduce the amount of light entering your camera, they are mainly used for achieving longer exposures.

Bonus Tip!!

Set your camera to Mirror Lock Up, this will reduce any 
shakiness inside your camera.

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