Long exposure photography is one of the coolest ways of taking pictures. It requires a longer shutter speed, anywhere from 1/2 sec up to several minutes or even a hour.
The ability to take long exposures requires a user to use a tripod for optimum results (of course, some people prefer the hand shake look). The use of a tripod is essential because the inability for the human hand to stay still is truly remarkable. No matter how good you get, it will be very hard to hand hold a 1 second shutter release without very noticeable blur. As well as a tripod (or monopod in some cases could work), a photographer should make use of the timed shutter release. This will allow the user to set the shot up, and set a timer to release the shutter. Most cameras have the option of one or more timed shutter releases, for example my Canon 40D has a 2 second and 10 second wait. I usually use the 2 second release as this gives you just enough time to get your hands off the camera to not bump the shot. This is even more important on longer shutter times.
Having a longer shutter speed of a few seconds allows the camera to take in more light to the sensor (or film for the film buffs). This means that the camera can read more “data” from the scene and gather more detail in a low light condition, creating some truly remarkable results as you will see below.
As well as low light conditions, a slow shutter speed allows for creative uses of motion in photographs. Some very cool portraits can be taken using a slower shutter speed, for example someone riding by on a bike creates a blur of the background and the bike, but could create a detailed portrait of the rider’s face if you follow the action. The same goes for a moving car, a fast shutter will catch a car in the exact instance, it could look like it’s not even moving (even at 200 mph with a fast lense). But using a slower shutter and following the path of the car could create a remarkable sense of speed that is tough to mimic and master.
Enjoy the great examples below and get out their and experiment with your camera taking long exposures.
Reader suggested Long exposure Photographs
I would like to add some of the best long exposure photographs suggested by my readers here. So that this post will remain alive for a long time. Will update this post regularly !
January 17, 2010 at 5:29 pm -
Thanks Tina 🙂
Great pix! Thanks for sharing.
Incredible work,love it, 2 5 12 and 26 in particular but all really great
Foto’s are awesome…. interesting info too….
Wonderful photos… will be back again and again…
Great stuff, absolutely great! Well done.
Great photos, but not to be nit-picky or anything, but the motorcycle picture is not a long exposure, on the contrary, it has an extremely fast shutter speed akin to sports photography.
February 7, 2010 at 10:36 pm -
I thought the same thing when I first looked at it. So I stared at it forever then realized that the man on motorcycle is still, spinning his rear tire and shooting sand backward. If you look at the sand you will see the smooth feel made from the long exposure. This is one of the more difficult long exposure pictures because the man on the bike has to be very still so that only sand is effected. A very creative idea.
May 13, 2010 at 7:39 am -
Ok. But look at the spikes of the rear wheel… they are also still. He most probably jumped and the photo was taken.
June 10, 2010 at 3:57 am -
Yeah gary and zektop are correct, it’s a really fast shutter speed.
Exotic, inspiring, thanks for sharing.
Amazing pics, Great work, Inspiring, Wow!
Awesome photos, definitely inspiring!
Excellent collection of pics.
absolutely beautiful and inspirational
thank you for sharing your fantastic shot
Some really nice pics
January 31, 2010 at 4:18 am -
thanks dude 🙂
The motorcyclist is an example of a very short exposure time since all the details, the sand and the spokes, are very sharp. It is more, on the contrary to a long exposure, a case of very good timing. A great picture, but not the long exposure you are looking for.
Great!!! What kind of camera is good for this?
I have experimented a lot with time-lapse, also called long exposure photography.
One idea – when I lived in Egypt, I went one night to
photograph the Sphinx. I used a tripod.
I opened the shutter, then I took a strong flashlight and swept it back and forth over the face of the Sphinx, to highlight the portions I selected. I did this several times, and got very amazing results. I have lost the photos, but I still remember this technique.
Try it!! salaam aleikhum, George
I was trying to do this. But the light conditions must be really low isn’t it?? Cuz when I take like a photo of this when the sun is gone for 15 minutes…(it is light-darky) my photo gets just white…how did you do that, by example in case of the old house photo…Or the birds are photoshopped….or you didnt use a long shutter time..???
July 2, 2010 at 10:56 am -
To get photos like the above, to use a long exposure you have to have low lighting or close your aperture to smaller (bigger f-Stop number). When you leave the shutter open for a longer amount of time you let more light in, but you can counter that when you close the aperture. So with that being said in theory the old house and the birds could be very possible to take although the birds aren’t blurred which is a perfect watermark for long exposure photography.
Incidentally self timers aren’t so necessary for longer shots (over 10 secs) because the shake of your hand setting off the camera covers such a short fraction of the exposure. It’s the shorter ones (1 sec) where it matters.
Very nice pictures, thank you for sharing.
Wow, I;ve tried long exposure with my 7 megapixel sony before, But I suppose as photography is just a hobby for me, that to achieve the awesomeness of these I would need proper experience.
Amazing collection! Wow. A Must Tweet!
very interesting i love the way you play with light.
you are using photoshop?
These are not all long exposure. Nonetheless they are awesome photos.
Wow! Those are some really great shots! I looove long exposure because you can get very creative with it.
I hope you can add some of my long exposure shots to your post:
Thanks! Tweeted this post! 🙂
I have tried this and fail every time, any tips? tahnks
my eyes almost popped out when look at this awesome photos … I will do that myself someday …thanks for sharing , friend
AMAZED! would love to see more
Excellent photos, thanks for sharing.
These are all amazing. I especially liked the dock, I love alternate perspectives in photography.
Absolutely incredible. Some of the most awe-inspiring photography I’ve seen in a long time. Would love to know what model of camera was used.
Outstanding photos.. (Thumbs Up)