LONG EXPOSURE

Sony a6300 & 16-70mm f/4.0 (@ 35mm)

592 seconds | f/22.0 | ISO 100

The Histogram

[Lightroom]

Capturing Tips

Getting the right exposure

You will almost always need to use a Neutral Density (ND) filter to create longer exposures. The trickiest but most important part is calculating what exposure time is needed once the ND filter is on as the camera will not be able to determine this once it is past 30 seconds. The PhotoPills app has an exposure time calculator that I find very useful, and there are two calculation methods:

Method 1

  • Set the camera to "Aperture Priority" mode

  • Set the ISO to 100 (or lower if camera allows)

  • Set the aperture to be used in the final exposure

  • The camera will calculate the exposure time needed (at this point we have not placed the ND filter on)

  • [I quite often set the camera to expose 1/3 stop under]

  • Put these settings into the app, add in the filter that you will be using and the app will calculate your exposure time

  • Now you can place the ND filter on, switch over to "Manual"or "Bulb"on the camera, and expose for the time calculated

Method 2

  • Set the camera to "Aperture Priority" mode

  • Set the ISO to 100 (or lower if camera allows)

  • Place the ND filter on the camera

  • Adjust the aperture and ISO settings until the camera is able to give you a correct exposure time (under 30 sec)

  • [I quite often set the camera to expose 1/3 stop under]

  • Put these settings into the app, adjust the settings on the app to the ones you intend to use on your final exposure, the app will calculate your final exposure time

  • Switch over to "Manual"or "Bulb"on the camera, and expose for the time calculated

It is very difficult to get the perfect exposure as the light is always changing. You will be able to work with your raw exposure in post as long as:

  • your capture does not underexpose enough that you lose details in the shadows, or

  • your capture is overexposed to the point you are blowing out the highlights

 

Check out the histogram [RAW vs. Processed] - although my image was underexposed (over the exposure time the scene became darker and I did not account for that when calculating my exposure time) it is important to note I did not underexpose to the point I had no detail in the shadows. Also, note that the highlights have not been blown out.

Focusing
 

Focus should be set before the ND filter is added and changed to manual focus once set so the camera does not hunt for focus when the ND filter is on.

Processing

Long exposures are not intended to be photo realistic; we can never recreate these images with our eyes.

Take this opportunity to express your creativity, don't be afraid to be more artistic when it comes to processing this type of image.

 

As a guideline you can see the processing used for the example image. I have increased the whites of the image to increase the overall contrast and make it more balanced. In the split toning section I have accentuated the purple hues of the image to something I find more pleasing.

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© Hakan Nedjat Photography [ landscape astroscape cityscape photographer milkyway macro wildlife canvas prints art photography photo new zealand nz astro city auckland nature fine art milky way ]