Long Exposure Ep 1 -Introduction to Long Exposure

Long exposure is my absolute favorite shooting technique! It allows you to capture something very different than what you are seeing with your eyes. If you’ve ever seen beautiful night-scapes or silky smooth waterfalls, you are looking at a picture taken with long exposure. What is long exposure? It is simply the use of a long-duration shutter speeds in order to collect more light or add a special effect.

In a previous post I went in depth on the main three camera adjustment: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. In that section I pointed out that any motion in the frame during extended shutter speed would blur that part of the image. Instead of looking at this as a negative, many long exposure shots intentionally use this to create a desired effect. A great example of this is light painting or car trails.


Light painting with a sculpture and flashlight

Albany lines

Car light trails


Another type of shot that utilized long exposure are astrophotography pictures. Pulling out enough light in order to capture stars requires extended exposure times.

Milky way 1

Milky way over a lake in central New York

Using long exposure in the daylight requires using neutral density filters to reduce the amount of incoming light. I will discuss this further in a specific waterfall post later, but this is another example of creating a specific effect using long exposure. Slowing down the capture speed allows you to capture a smooth  water flow, instead of individual droplets.

Gljufrafoss-Iceland 2

Waterfall basin in Iceland

This is just an introduction to long exposure to show many of the capabilities it can produce. Each one of these outcomes will get its own specific write up, but I encourage everyone to play around with exposure times to crate unique pictures.

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