Long exposure makes a difference #157

16mm, f/11, 30 seconds, ISO 100, B+W ND110 (10 stop) filter

16mm, f/11, 30 seconds, ISO 100, B+W ND110 (10 stop) filter

20mm, f/8, 1/320 second, ISO 100

20mm, f/8, 1/320 second, ISO 100

On the first picture with the help of LONG EXPOSURE (30 seconds) the clouds are fuzzy, the lake’s surface is smooth and the grass is blurry to provide a somewhat melancholic, gentle and timeless mood.

On the second picture due to the NORMAL EXPOSURE (1/320 second) everything is sharp and the overwhelmingly cloudy sky suggests tension and drama.

Which one would be your favorite?

Long exposure photography #99

Did you ever try Long Exposure (LE) photography? If not, experiment, it is time to do it! LE provides you with a whole new dimension of photography. Everything moving, such as clouds, water, tree branches become wonderfully fuzzy and silky smooth. You will record something nobody can see by naked eye! It is like a miniature time capsule. Fascinating! It adds mood and atmosphere to your photography. By definition the exposure must be minimum 30 seconds. The only way to do it to have a neutral density filter.

Now let’s see how does it work?


30 sec, f/16, ISO 100, 16mm. B+W ND110 77mm (10 stop neutral density) filter

Notice the fuzzy and smooth clouds and tree branches.

Now the same shot without 10 stop neutral density filter.


1/45 sec, f/11, ISO 100, 16mm

See the difference? Let’s do another comparison.


120 sec, f/22, ISO 1oo, 16mm, B+W ND110

See how nice silky smooth is the creek.

Now check out the same shot without the filter.


1/25 sec, f/11, ISO 100, 16mm

Finally, here is my favorite LE comparison so far.


30 sec, f/11, ISO 100, 16mm, B+W ND110

See the beautiful and expressive silky smooth clouds and creek. Nice, isn’t it?

The next shot is done with no filter.


1/80 sec, f/11, ISO 100, 16mm

Not bad however this shot is missing that extra mystic and magic quality.

Next, what do you need for LE photography?

1. Tripod

2. Wide angle lens, minimum 24 mm or wider IMHO.

3. 10 and/or 6 stop filters. Various screw on or filter holder system brands available, eg. B+W, Lee, Hitech, Hoya, etc. You may stack a 10 stop and a 6 stop filter. More than two filters may deteriorate picture quality.

4. Landscape with moving elements, eg. clouds, water, grass, tree branches. The best possible location is probably the seashore. Unfortunately I am pretty far from it…  😦

5. Golden hour, dawn, dusk. You can’t do it at noon so get up really early! Windy weather after a storm is a plus.

6. Small aperture, eg. f/16-f/22 and minimum 30 seconds exposure up to minutes.

7. Make your composition off filter. You won’t see anything when the filter is on!

8. Calculations. First, check exposure time without filter, then adjust exposure 10 or whatever stop plus after switching to manual mode. Always use the same aperture! Apply filter.

9. Use self timer mode or cable/electronic exposure release. Don’t touch the camera during exposure!

10. Experiment! Add extra 1-2 stop. Trial and error.

11. At home use software to tweak your best shots. Perhaps convert it to black and white.

That’s it folks.

First it may look complicated but with time it will become your second nature.

See more info below on #72 Variations on a subject


Finally, some great sites for further reading:




Don’t hesitate, let me know your personal experience!

#72 Variations on a subject

Four pictures about the same subject and four different impressions!

How is it possible?

We photographers have all sorts of tools and tricks to manipulate the mood of the subject. Change the exposure time, convert it to black and white, make the colors warm or cool, place the horizon in the dead center or along the upper third, use certain filters, shoot at various seasons or time of the day or under changing weather conditions, etc and you will never capture the same mood. Furthermore, looking at the same picture we might have different impression about it depending on our own mood! The following method is my new favorite one.


Just recently discovered LE as you can see it on picture # 3 and 4. This creative technique is getting more and more popular. Like it myself for several reasons:

A. It has a cool simplifying effect on the composition creating wonderfully abstract and strongly graphical pictures.

B. You capture something with LE you just don’t see with your naked eyes. You record the passage of time creating ethereal, atmospheric-looking images with implied mood.  The effects are mysterious and surprising, the images are packed with intrigue.

So, check out the following shots, pick your own favorite one and tell me, why?


1.Warm colors


2. Cool colors


3. Color, long exposure (using B+W 77 mm 110 ND 3.0 1000 X=10 stop filter)


4. Black & white, long exposure

More on LE photography here: