Thursday, December 11, 2014
Taking Long Exposures
It seems to me that we live in a world orientated to a digital generation demanding instant gratification. This extends to photography, encouraged by the prevalence of camera phones and Instagram type apps. How many photographers, when they come across a beautiful scene, just stop and snap a photo with a camera phone and then move on?
Long exposure photography is different. It demands patience, an appreciation of beautiful light and a deep understanding of composition. It is as much about the mind-set of the photographer as it is about the subject. It’s not brash or flashy – you rarely see long exposure photographers use techniques such as high dynamic range (HDR) photography or adding texture layers.
What is long exposure photography? There is no precise definition. I think of it as involving shutter speeds of ten seconds or longer, but I’m sure some photographers will be thinking in terms of shutter speeds of a minute or more. But the aim is the same – to create beautiful and surreal images by leaving the shutter open long enough to record anything that moves within the landscape, such as water, as a blur.
That’s why most long exposure photography tends to take place along the coast or near moving water. It creates an interesting subject, helped by natural features such as rocks and islands, and man-made ones like piers and jetties.
Painting with light is also a form of long exposure photography.