A Guide: Long exposure photography (Ep:1)

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In a new segment on my blog I am going to do a guide series.  In this series I will go over some basic fundamentals about shooting different styles of photography.   In this post I am going to go over long exposure photography.   The effect I was looking for is a slight blur to the water.  I did not want an extreme blur or smoke look to the water.  You can adjust your settings to get that effect if you want.

Long exposure photography is when you leave your shutter open for an allotted amount of time to create a blurring like effect in your photograph.  This is great for photographing waterfalls, lakes and streams.  When using this technique it will create a mist like effect in the water while the other objects stay sharp and still. There are some key things you will need to know, but in the end you can play around with these key options and get the photograph you are looking for.   In this video I talk about using your shutter speed, aperture and ISO to perform this kind of effect.

Other photographic styles this technique can be used for:

  • Water falls
  • Streams
  • Light painting
  • Carnivals
  • Moving cars
  • City night photography
  • Moving trains and much more

You will need a camera that gives you full manual control over your settings.  You can use a DX or FX body, this does not matter at all so don’t stress.  You will need to be able to adjust your shutter speed, aperture and ISO for the best results.

Steps for photographing water (long exposure):

  1. Scope out a location that has moving water.  You can choose waterfalls, streams, the ocean and other locations.
  2. Make sure you have a wide enough angle lens.  You can use an 18-55mm kit lens or a 10mm fisheye and so on.  I used a 24-70mm in this video because I forgot my wider angle lens.
  3. You will need a polarizing filter or some kind of filter system.  This is important.  You need to control the amount of light that is hitting the sensor.  I use a square filter kit. I purchased this on amazon.com.  I will leave the link below.  You can use a circular polarizing filter but make sure it gives you enough stop levels for proper control of the exposure.
  4. Tripod.  You will need a tripod for this and almost all the other styles of photography that fall in this category.  You can use any kind except for a mono-pod.  Cheap, expensive or borrowed tripods will work. 🙂
  5. Appropriate clothing.  Be sure that you wear pants or shoes depending on the location.  You will be doing a lot of sitting and kneeling, so be ready for your pants to get a little dirty.
  6. Cleaning cloth.  This is very important.  If you are in an environment that has sand or dust then you will need this to clean your filters and lens.
  7. Your settings will constantly change.  Depending on the weather, where the sun is and if there are tree’s surrounding the location all of these factors will dictate the settings you use for your photograph.

When you get the spot you want, your tripod set up and you feel the good vibes then start taking your photographs.
Here is an example of the settings I started out with:

  • ISO – 100
  • Aperture – F25 (adjust yours to however high your aperture goes)
  • Shutter – 3 seconds
  • Filters

IMPORTANT:
After you get your camera ready here is an important tip.  Make sure you auto-focus your subject then turn your lens to manual focus.  You do not want the camera to continually try to focus when the filters are on the lens.  This will make things a lot more troublesome and annoying in the end.  It is safer to just auto-focus first, then switch to manual focus and then put your filters on and start taking some pictures!

Filter systems:

Complete Square Filter Kit Compatible with Cokin P Series - Includes: Graduated Color Green, Yellow, Purple, Orange, Pink, Brown, Blue and Red Filters + Graduated ND2, ND4, ND8 and Full ND2, ND4, ND8 Filters + 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72, 77MM Adapter Rings + 2 Filter Holder + 2 Lens Hood + Premium MagicFiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloth by Goja
Complete Square Filter Kit Compatible with Cokin P Series – Includes: Graduated Color Green, Yellow, Purple, Orange, Pink, Brown, Blue and Red Filters + Graduated ND2, ND4, ND8 and Full ND2, ND4, ND8 Filters + 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72, 77MM Adapter Rings + 2 Filter Holder + 2 Lens Hood + Premium MagicFiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
by Goja
Link: http://amzn.com/B00796I546
XCSource Complete Square Filter Kit Compatible with Cokin P Series -Inclues:Full ND2 ND4 ND 8 Filter,Graduated ND2,ND4,ND8 Filters,Graduated Blue/Orange/Red/Green/Yellow & Purple Filer + 49/52/55/58/62/67/72/77/82MM Ring Adater + 2 PCS Filter Holder +2 PCS Lens Hood +3 Cleaning Cloth LF142 by XCSOURCE
XCSource Complete Square Filter Kit Compatible with Cokin P Series -Inclues:Full ND2 ND4 ND 8 Filter,Graduated ND2,ND4,ND8 Filters,Graduated Blue/Orange/Red/Green/Yellow & Purple Filer + 49/52/55/58/62/67/72/77/82MM Ring Adater + 2 PCS Filter Holder +2 PCS Lens Hood +3 Cleaning Cloth LF142
by XCSOURCE
Link: http://amzn.com/B00AJD15PC
Tiffen Circular Polarizer by Tiffen
Tiffen Circular Polarizer
by Tiffen
Link: http://amzn.com/B00004ZCAU

Remember when you go out just keep taking pictures.  You will not get the shot you want right away but to be honest… NO ONE DOES! 🙂
So go out on a beautiful day and have some fun.
In the video below I go over what I am doing and show some of the photographs.

I hope this helps you out and gives you some ideas.  You can like, share and or follow this blog for more updates and new posts on the new series called A GUIDE.

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