What is Long exposure photography?
As technical is any photos that has been taken with long shutter speed.
Long shutter speed is your setting on your camera, manual mode, you can put in M (Manual) or TV (Time). you can set about 5 seconds until 30 seconds.
What is the purpose?
Originally this technique is for taking the photo in low light condition, because of the light is not sufficient enough, the camera need more light come into the camera, need more time, when we set the time longer, then camera will get more light come inside, so the photo result will become bright.
Using this technique can make a different approach oh ‘art’ photos. we can use to play with the light (Painting light) and also to capture the slow motion of the water flow or also the people walk. Sometime we can see our photo result like have a ‘ghost’ when we set using AV mode then the light not enough then the result, the people moving like have spirit/shadow (ghost).
For water flow, the image really can became dreamy image like have haze in the water. I really like to use this method for taking water flow photos.
Most of the type of camera will set for 30 seconds max, to set more than that you can use M mode, and set as BULB, you can press the shutter button with you hand, anytime you like, then you release it.
For example I use 1 minutes, so I put as M mode, and press the button, until 1 minute I release the button. But to do this it’s quite risk cause our body is moving, so to avoid this, I using the cable release. I control the pressing use the cable release, some cable release type also have the button that we can set the timing and also we can set to always on until we want to stop. This is very useful if we want to take the star moving in the night, we need more time to do this. I remember when taking the Bromo in the night with my friend, using this technique.
The basic rule is: we need the low light to capture the long shutter speed photo. to make it ‘dark’ we need some filter, Neutral Density Filter, you can use base on the density you like, have some model ND4 ND8 ND9 and also ND400. Depend on the light condition when you want to take the photo. And to make camera steady we need tripod.
Normally for water flow, I put the ND4 or ND8 and using also the CPL filter to make the reflection gone. and we can adjust the aperture -2 -1 0 1 2
We also can use flash to fire some moment, example when taking the Bali Kecak dance, I can set my flash to fire about 3 times during the long exposure shoot. The result like we combine 3 photos of one person movement.
- Keep trying with many light condition
- Understand your camera setting
- Use tripod, try the light weight and steady filter if you do a lot of travelling
- Always bring your CPL and ND filter