• Shooting long exposure photos with Fiona Madden

    August 4, 2019

    We all long for that beautiful landscape shot that looks like time is standing still, rough water turned glassy and skies that look painted.   This is all possible though a 10 stop Neutral Density filter.  Kinda like massive thick sunglasses for your camera so you can leave the shutter open for long periods of time.  All you need then is a decent tripod and some scenery!

    Mainly I take landscapes with Fujifilm's super wide 10-24mm.  The more landscape you can fit into these images the better.   You can start by looking for good detail in rocks, or interesting foreground, or anything that water will move around.  Remember when water has places to go it will create such interesting patterns when the shutter is open for so long.  Even the most simple and basic photos can turn into colourful in depth beauty that nature provides with moving water.

    Any type of fast or slow moving water can look stunning on a long exposure.   With fast moving ocean water you will get the white wash patterns where the waves breaks around the feature.  With slow moving water, the entire image looks like it turns into glass.  Win win either way, so it means you can shoot in almost any conditions!

    Clouds can add so much detail to a long exposure shot.  Especially if they are moving in any way fast.  Some of the best sunset photos I've taken,  had fast moving pink fluffies, leaving streaks of colour and painted brush strokes behind them.   Cloud detail isn't essential but you can see how much it adds to make a truly dynamic photo.  If the sky is still too bright to slow down the water that much, consider getting a graduated filter for the sky or if you don't have one, you can bracket 3 shots into one for a merged, perfectly exposed photo.

    If you have a friend who can stand really still (bet you never thought that was a useful character trait) you must borrow them.  If they can stand still, in a world of everything else that is moving you will strike the viewers interest.   Bare feet, down at the beach as the water moves around them, or on a cliff edge as rough water surges below.  Anything that looks  dramatic, while the subject stays still would create a really interesting photo!  Have fun!

    5. BONUS TIP
    Making sure that expensive piece of thick glass is spotless before sliding it into it's holder seems obvious but hey!  A rocket duster between shots or a quick check on the glass will save work later in  photoshop.   If it's really windy, you can weigh the tripod down with Wait until you think it's almost too dark to shoot and then take your shot...ISO as low as possible!

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