I said in a recent post that I wanted to get more daylight long-exposure photos happening, and this is me making good on that promise.
(Below shot at normal exposure)
I’ve a growing collection of photos of this pier- I’ll try not to post all of them- as it’s one of the more photogenic in the area. Not too long ago I headed down with my setup and spent a little while shooting long-exposure and time-lapse photos. It was a perfect day for it- the sea was choppy, the sun was out, and the early morning light leant itself to using the polariser I layer with the ND400 filter (which allows me to darken the image without affecting the colour, so I can leave the shutter open longer). I shot at a few different exposure lengths, but found the sweet-spot with some 45-second exposures (like the one at top of this post) that turned the sea to mist, and some shorter (1-3 second) frames which allowed the waves to blur but still kept some of the choppy texture.
You can see the effect of the long exposure in the silky water, and also (in the longer exposures) the blurred clouds. Amazingly, the seagulls at the end of the pier were relatively sedate, mostly sitting around and bobbing their heads in the breeze, so they remain fairly static even in the 45-second frames.
It’s some of the details I love in these sorts of images, as the effect essentially ‘distorts’ or ‘re-represents’ reality. The streaming dribbles of water from the pier struts, for example.
I also enjoy the contrast between the 45-second exposure frames and shorter 2-second ones. Both blur the water, but the shorter exposures still give you some of the heave and swirl of the water. You can see this in the two shots below- the first at 45 seconds and the second at 3 seconds.
I actually shot a series of these at 1 second and turned them into a 3-second time-lapse movie. The effect is great, and marries two of my favourite photographic techniques- long exposure and time-lapse. Unfortunately I can’t figure out how to upload it without a catastrophic loss of image fidelity, so until I do that, you’ll just have to imagine it.
As I get more comfortable, familiar and proficient at taking long exposures, I’ll aim to get a few more into my portfolio. I’d love to be out more often when the light is changing, but unfortunately that tends to be at the busiest time of the day for families- breakfast and dinner. At any rate, this is a style of photography (and an effect) I really enjoy, so watch this space for more as I get my head around it a little more…
Incidentally, I’ve started hosting my photos at the photosharing website “500px”, which I quite like as a setup. It’s a little like flickr used to be before flickr got a bit too big for its own good, and a place where you can still get some decent interaction between photographers. My portfolio is still small, but I’m building on it. You can find it here if you’re interested.