Just had a photographer friend of mine, Eric Constantineau, give a conference at the Montreal Camera Club. It was on Night Photography and Long Exposures. I guess you can all figure out where the inspiration for this week’s Challenge came from.
For this week’s challenge, we’re combining both the night aspect and the long exposures. The reduced light from dusk on makes it easier to get nice long exposures. Anything from stars to automobile lights come to life. A tripod will be necessary to stabilize your camera. A polarized filter or/and a light ND filter wlil help depending on the light conditions.
My personal favorite, Ferris Wheels in motion at night. You’ll have to shoot in manual mode. I like to work with 30 second exposures as it gives plenty of time to get plenty of action in front of the lens. I always shoot at my camera’s native ISO to reduce noise in long exposures. Pay attention not to over expose lights as you will loose details in those areas. In this case the long exposure also minimized the appearance of individuals walking by.
For the sake of clarity and sharpness, I never recommend completely stepping down your lens. However the more you do the more you will get a star-shape effect from fixed lighting. At first glance this image may not seem like a very long exposure. It’s a 2 minute long exposure. We can see a stream of car lights above the water line. The real catch, thousands of Snow Geese are swimming along in front of me in the water. Except for a white smudgy texture they’re completely gone due to the long exposure time.
The hustle and bustle of city life offers constant movement by night. From the rotating advertisement cylinder, to the bus light trails and the movement of the clouds, this image has multiple aspects of captured motion.
Fireworks themselves are captured with long exposures. Although a relatively short, long exposure, will give you amazing results, a much longer controlled exposure allows you to capture multiple facets of a fireworks presentation onto one image. Keep your shutter open in BULB mode. Cover your lens with a black hat or other object. I use a cut down neoprene bottle cooler. Uncover the lens for just the parts you want exposed and cover it up again when you don’t want your scene exposed. Naturally night time long exposures wouldn’t be complete without Light Painting. I would recommend flashlights over the above technique of twirling burning steel wool. If you choose to do so, please read up on all the safety concerns and don’t leave home without a fire extinguisher. Use all the protective gear you may need as this stuff burns clothing, skin, hair and eyes. If you’ve never done this before, I suggest you attend a workshop first. As you can see the possibilities are truly limitless. With the days getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere and not too long in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the perfect time of year to practice your night photography.
This will be more of an interpretive challenge leaving the door wide open to your imagination. To complete your challenge your image will have to have been taken at night and demonstrate an effect such as movement from the long exposure.
The rules are pretty simple:
- Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+, Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org or #photochallenge2015.
- The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
- The posted image should be a photograph, not a video.
- Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2015 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.