Taking long exposures

We love the abstraction long exposures can lend to images, simplifying busy scenes and giving a sense of movement or, ironically, stillness. You can get long exposures “naturally” by shooting in low light or through forcing exposure times by using neutral density (ND) filters. The Lee Filters BIG Stopper off ers a 10-stop ND! An alternative is to use a polariser, which can add two stops to your exposure.

Top tips for taking long exposures

Use a tripod.

Set your camera to its lowest ISO setting.

Set ‘Long Exposure Noise Reduct ion’ if your camera has this function.

Compose and focus your image.

Fit any graduated filters needed to keep highlights in the sky in check.

Make an exposure and check the hist ogram. Only when this is fine, use that as the benchmark for your long exposure.

Place the Neutral Density filter over the lens.

For exposures under 30 seconds, use the in-camera timer or set your camera to “Bulb”. (If you use a Canon, make sure the f-stop remains the same).

Cover the viewfinder to avoid purple or magenta streaks in your image.

Protect the filter set from light glare and act as a human shield against the wind.

Take the exposure using a remote release.

Very long exposures can tend towards blue in colour; this can be fixed in post -processing using the white balance or temperature slider adjust ment tool.