Creating a Long Exposure Image

Creating a Long Exposure Image

Symmetrical and Long-Exposure shot of the outflow pipe on Ferring Beach. Shot using neutral density filters with the shutter open for seven minutes

Motivation from Facebook?!

I find Facebook great for lots of things. The way it prompts me to get off my backside and go and take some photos is one! I’ve been reluctant due to the pandemic recently but this felt like a safe enough exercise. I told myself I’d stay well away from other people and I would head home if my plan was compromised.

I tried intentional-camera-movement photos to start with and they were only partially successful so more about those another time! No point me talking about something I don’t feel I have any expertise in!

Avoiding the Tide

As the tide came in, I looked for other opportunities and saw the large structure you see in the photo. I thought it would make a reasonable leading line as part of a symmetrical long-exposure image.

My final shot was just under 7 minutes long; The clouds were moving particularly slowly and anything slower didn’t satisfy my desire to show movement in the sky. Seven minutes is not THAT long but with each paddleboarder coming into view, I felt the urge to restart… That’s not a sensible idea if each shot is at least 4 minutes. It’s inevitable you’ll get SOMEone coming into shot!

Camera Settings

The camera settings for this shot are f/13, 415sec, ISO 200 using a Nikon D800, full-frame camera and my excellent 16-35 Nikkor Lens.
I also used my Hitech Firecrest 16-stop Neutral Density Filter… The Lee Super Stopper does similar but is more expensive. I did use a ND Gradient filter too – just to lower the brightness of the sky and make it easier to draw out detail in the brickwork.

I’m particularly pleased with the way the clouds are seeming to head in/out of the picture and the vibrant green of the algae & seaweed on the structure.

I wanted as much of the brick-pattern in as possible – I knew that would be a key feature of my shot so I splayed the tripod legs to get the camera closer to the ground.

I definitely recommend going to practice these long-exposure images and somewhere I’ll be returning to very soon.

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