Long exposures in daylight

May 17, 2012 at 9:49 am

So occa­sion­ally (and hope­fully more often than that), I’ll drop in a lit­tle verbage amidst all the pho­tog­ra­phy here. Here is one of those times.

Ear­lier this week I read an arti­cle (1) that was related to doing long expo­sures in var­i­ous light­ing sce­nar­ios. Day­light, evening, etc. With the acqui­si­tion of a 5D Mark II, I’m look­ing for­ward to also try­ing new tech­niques than I had before. Not that they couldn’t have been done before, but I’m def­i­nitely want­ing to refresh the toolkit and new hard­ware helps with that.

With help from a local sup­ply shop (2) I got a new 3-stop ND fil­ter (3) for my Cokin P-series set, which com­bined with 2 other polar­iz­ers pro­vides 5 stops of extra expo­sure time. In other words, if you have a nor­mal expo­sure of 1/60 sec­ond then all else equal, with the above setup you would have an expo­sure of 1/2 sec­onds (1/60 * 2^5 = 1/2).

So yes­ter­day I grabbed a seri­ously fast sand­wich and went to the foun­tain down­town by Pack Square (4). It was very bright around 1pm so not great for super-long expo­sures. How­ever, the fol­low­ing did come out of the session.

Long Exposure May 16, 2012

13 sec­onds, f/32 at ISO 50. 100mm f/2.8 USM on 5D Mark 2

Granted, shoot­ing at f/32 is not rec­om­mended under nor­mal cir­cum­stances. But in the inter­est of a “long as pos­si­ble” photo I was try­ing to limit the light as much as pos­si­ble. Today is look­ing like another sunny day, but the next time it gets cloudy I look for­ward to see­ing what else can be done. Once I can get into the 2+ minute mark, then things like car move­ments can start to really blur.

Why do this dur­ing the day, when dur­ing the evening it is so much eas­ier? Two rea­sons, one because it’s there (5) and two, because I think that the energy of a space dur­ing the day with plenty of peo­ple and motion will give dif­fer­ent results than wait­ing until evening when the scene is calmer.

(1) http://www.bulbexposures.com/long-exposure-tutorial-old
(2) http://frenchbroadimaging.wordpress.com/
(3) http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/155747-REG/Cokin_CP154_P154_Gray_Neutral_Density.html
(4) http://g.co/maps/bhmfx
(5) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Mallory