More Long Exposure Photography

Long Exposure take as a JPEG.  RAW or JPEG look good, RAW just has more information to pull if adjustments are needed.
Long Exposure take as a JPEG. RAW or JPEG look good, RAW just has more information to pull if adjustments are needed.

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If a photograph is supposed to tell a story then a long exposure photographs story can be summed up in one word… Relaxing. The photograph above is not a difficult photograph to take and you don’t need Photoshop or Lightroom to accomplish this. Here is the equipment I used:

Nikon D600 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera with 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR AF-S Nikkor Lens

B+W 77mm ND 3.0-1,000X with Single Coating (110)

SLIK PRO 700DX Professional Tripod with Panhead (615-315)

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Control

You don’t really need the remote if you know how to use the timed shutter release settings on your camera but I’d still recommend it because there have been times when I had to put my camera in “bulb mode” (bulb mode is where you press the shutter to open the shutter and then press it again some time later to shut it) to get longer exposure times than my camera had preset.

Note: One piece not mentioned above but absolutely necessary is the cover for your viewfinder. If you don’t cover it up while doing long exposure your pictures will be ruined with the small amount of light that comes through the viewfinder.

ISO 200, 28mm, f16, 30sec

ISO 200, 44mm, f10, 30sec

Tip: Before you put your ND filter in place make sure you focus your lens. If you don’t like to manual focus a trick you can do on the Nikon is auto focus to where you want and then switch your camera to manual so the camera doesn’t try to focus you again when you press the shutter button. You won’t be able to frame or focus the scene once the filter is in place because it’s too dark to see through.

Here is the scene above without the ND filter:

ISO 200, 45mm, f10, 1/100sec

Long exposure photography is a fun and interesting way to stretch your creativity to new heights. Once you have mastered long exposure photography on rivers, streams, and waves, try taking some dramatic shots of landscapes with fast-moving clouds overhead to give the photograph some life. If you get some great shots or have some you’d like to share already email me and I’ll feature them in the weekly Photo Journal.

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Other related links you may want to check out:

Long Exposure Photography Tips
How To Use A Neutral Density Filter In Five Steps

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5 Comments

  • 3gitalian says:

    Great pictures, those look phenomenal!!!

  • Becky DeSantis says:

    Great pics, John. I have a question about the tripod. Do you like this one – would you buy it again? I was at Garcia’s the other day and he was showing me a Manfrotto (sp.?) one but I think it was about $300. Would love your thoughts on tripods. It needs to be simple for me to use it!!

    ”Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!”

    • j0hnnyb1 says:

      Thanks! Ya, $300 is a bit much for a tripod when there are deals like this on Amazon. I like the Slik Pro and I’d def recommend it, it’s heavy duty and super versatile. I like the ability to get it super low for macro if you need to (the center piece can be shortened or even inverted). Personally I’d save the $300, get a tripod like this and spend another $50 on a cheap light tripod to keep in your car (or just put your old tripod there). The Slik Pro weights about 7lbs so I’m not sure how heavy your used to. I feel like its the perfect weight for what I need.

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