Long Exposures - Water

posted March 31st, 2012
My last 2 photos have been long exposures of water and I've noticed that my best, or at least my favourite photos have been long exposure water scenes which is not all that surprising, as I live by the sea.

I have learned a lot about long exposures over the last few months and thought it would be nice to see other peoples photos of long exposure water scenes, be it the sea, rivers, lakes, waterfalls etc. Maybe post some info about exposure time etc to help other people out and any general tips you have for people that want to try it out themselves.

I'll start it off with a few of my own photos and the relevant details. Also my general tips would be:

1) Your tripod is never as steady as you think it is, at 30 or more seconds even the slightest movement can ruin the shot. Try to dig it into the sand/earth if you can.

2) You don't need to spend a fortune on a neutral density filter. I got a 9 stop ND500 filter from Light Craft Workshop for 60euro.

3) Use mirror up mode (if you camera has it) and a remote shutter release (or self timer) to minimise vibrations.

4) Shoot in RAW as this will give you some more freedom if you under or overestimated the shutter speed.

Looking forward to seeing your photos and tips.

Paul


10 second exposure at f/11 to get a lot of it if focus and not too long as to keep the rocks under the water visible.




30 second exposure to get as much colour out of the sky as possible.




25 second exposure to really smooth the water and blur the clouds.

posted March 31st, 2012
@jonesp WOW they really are so beautiful!
posted March 31st, 2012
@tracywilliams Thanks Tracy. Hopefully some more people will post as well so we can get to see some great images.
posted March 31st, 2012
@jonesp Wow, these are stunning! I love long exposure water shots and had to get to grips with them to an extent during the winter months.

The darkness has often forced me to make the most of the blue hour after work. And up until now I have only a small table tripod, so for me the most important thing has been to find the right wall, rock or wooden post to rest it on...and the wind in the North East is a constant factor messing up long exposures!
I don't have any filters at the moment but would love to try some in lighter conditions.

30 sec exposure at f10 and ISO 100 to get the detail of the lighthouse and the lighter tones:


15 sec at f9 and ISO 100:



posted March 31st, 2012
I'm not a huge fan of the cotton candy softness of some water pics, that seem to be popular right now, like with waterfalls but in a more a placid scene like with Paul's pics it works pretty well.
With waterfalls, I don't want to lose the sense of power. And once it goes really soft that sense of power does seem to get lost. Here is one I made trying to split the difference, to some extent, between power and softness. I think I was successful in conveying that. Tumalo Falls, Oregon. I used my circular polarizer and set a small aperture to get a fairly long exposure.

posted March 31st, 2012
8 seconds tripod.

posted March 31st, 2012
This one was 10 seconds and no tripod. Instead I used my camera bag and some big rocks:

posted March 31st, 2012
Best tip I can give on my long exposure shots is find the shortest long exposure that will give you the desired effect as it will increase likelihood for steadiness which increases sharpness.
posted March 31st, 2012
This might not be a long exposures. it was taken with a small pocket size camera
posted March 31st, 2012
@bmnorthernlight Thanks. Your lighthouse shots are wonderful. I know what you mean about the wind. An unfortunate side effect of living by the sea and it really call kill a great shot. I try and keep the tripod as low as possible as this helps a lot. Am following you now, and look forward to seeing some more from you.
posted March 31st, 2012
@mikehamm Nice shot Mike. I see what you mean about striking that fine balance. Must try find some waterfalls.
posted March 31st, 2012
@michaelelliott Great to see some city shots Michael. Something I haven't tried yet. I love the way the lights reflect in the water.
posted March 31st, 2012
@jonesp Thanks, that's very kind! followed you right back, lots of great shots in your album. I guess I am at a little advantage there with my tiny tripod at the moment. But tripod head for the big one is due to arrive next week and I can't wait to go out and play!!
posted March 31st, 2012
@bmnorthernlight Yeah, this photography lark can get expensive no?
posted March 31st, 2012
Here is another one, slightly different this time as I'm in it. Was not that easy to stand perfectly still for 30 seconds with the wind howling but the long exposure really helped draw out the colours in the rocks and water on this dull day.

posted March 31st, 2012
well its not the sea or a river or a waterfall but it is water and it is long exposure :)

this one is though :D
posted March 31st, 2012
I used a tripod and delayed shutter release for this image using my Powershot S90 shooting in RAW ... 10s & ISO 80 ... Had problems with bright lights of Petronas Towers over-exposing but I really liked the end result!

posted March 31st, 2012
@asrai Not thought of fountains Lee but I did say etc as I knew I'd miss something! Nice photo, totally different effect to mine.
posted March 31st, 2012
@zferrie Amazing photo Zoe. Truly amazing. Glad I started this discussion now as its given me some great ideas for some long exposure city shots.
posted March 31st, 2012


posted March 31st, 2012



posted March 31st, 2012
my first attempt the other week
posted March 31st, 2012
245 seconds with f22 and ND400 10-stop neutral density filter -- probably over-kill, but it got the job done.



30 seconds f14 also with the 10 stop ND filter

posted March 31st, 2012
These are all awesome shots, a wonderful thread. My favorite long shutter speed picture is hosted elsewhere, but here's one I have here. The water is a fountain waterfall, and I wanted it as smooth as I could get it. I used a 20 sec. shutter speed, and since it was getting too light for this type of thing, the aperture was f16. That meant the starburst was bigger than I really wanted.
posted March 31st, 2012


posted March 31st, 2012
posted March 31st, 2012
@mikehamm Nice picture Mike. Thank you for the advice on FB.
posted March 31st, 2012
@cirasj - Thanks, Joe. Any time.
posted March 31st, 2012


Here is one of mine done in the morning without any filters.



This is a dam near my house that I took a photo of every month last year.
posted March 31st, 2012
@kerristephens Lovely Kerri. The water looks silky smooth.
@kmrtn6 Great first attempt Kylie. Way better than mine which was totally out of focus!
@gark Gark - Stunning.
@mtngal I actually like the starbursts and the way the lights curve in the water.
@grizzlysghost Great shot of the crabs. Very unusual.
@simon0128 Lovely shot Simon.
@cirasj Looks like the perfect place for some long exposures Joe.
posted March 31st, 2012
Wow! These look like a LOT of fun. I really really want to try this. I shoot 99% of my photos on manual mode and manual focus in RAW format simply for the practice. I've only had my camera for 3 months so I am still learning. How do I set my camera up for a long exposure without letting in too much light? Would I keep the ISO at 100?
posted March 31st, 2012
@justpeachykeene They are a lot of fun Peachy. I've only had my camera just over 3 months as well and I always shoot in manual and RAW as well so its not too hard.

You can shoot at dawn or dusk if you don't have an ND filter or even a grey day with not much light which will allow you to have a slower shutter speed. A smaller aperture (f/20 for example) will help greatly as well. Low ISO is a good idea as well.

If you want longer exposures, like some of mine or especially garks (@gark) which are a few minutes long, you will need a 9 or 10 stop ND filter.

Hope this helps.
posted March 31st, 2012
@gark BEAUTIFUL
posted March 31st, 2012
@kmrtn6 what an AMAZING first attempt!!
posted March 31st, 2012
@michaelelliott every time I see your night shots I want to take one, but where I live is just not that beautiful! I'll find something one day...
posted March 31st, 2012
These are both SOOC:




posted March 31st, 2012
awesome shots all! I love the moving water photos, they give the photos life!
posted March 31st, 2012
I was very excited by this, my first and only long exposure water shot back in January. Hand held, sooc. (rain doesn't work - I tried)
posted March 31st, 2012
@jonesp @amyhughes - thanks so much both of you, i'd love to have another go but theres no more running water by me lol
posted March 31st, 2012
Long exposures are definitely fun to do. Just not water, but traffic can be interesting too. Here are a few of mine:

posted March 31st, 2012

posted April 1st, 2012
Lyn
I'm always trying to do this, but usually wonder WHY after I look at the pictures, but I was pleased with the sharp focus on the fallen tree here.
posted April 1st, 2012
@lyno I love this photo! The fallen tree really adds to the country feel!
posted April 1st, 2012
Only a one second exposure on a narrow boardwalk with wobbly sides. No tripod. Lots of water.

posted April 1st, 2012
@danacarruthers Great photos Dana. I also found that my long exposures, whilst not sooc as i only shoot RAW, have been processed the least.

@monika64 Hand help for 1.6 seconds Monika. I'm impressed!

@jeancarl Lovely photos JeanCarl, I especially like the fountain one.

@lyno Very nice. The tree is an interesting element.

@swguevin Very cool Sheila. You've captured the power very nicely.
posted April 1st, 2012
here is my attempt this was back in january.
Exposure: 14.7 sec (147/10)
Aperture: f/32.0
ISO Speed: 100
Focal Length: 32 mm
posted April 1st, 2012
@dlemma Very nice David but how did you get 14.7 seconds? Seems an odd shutter speed.
posted April 1st, 2012
my first try here:
posted April 1st, 2012
@lalola616 Amazing first try Barbora. Mine was terrible!
posted April 1st, 2012
@jonesp I mean not the first picture I took... just mine first long exposure shooting
posted April 1st, 2012
@jonesp That what the 365 site shows it as that. I think it was actually 15 seconds.
posted April 1st, 2012
@dlemma That makes more sense David :-)

@lalola616 I got that Barbora. I just meant my first attempt at long exposure was terrible.
posted April 4th, 2012
I just take one tonight...^^
posted April 4th, 2012
95 sec exposure (ND400) flattened out the 3 foot swell and gave something out of a drab sunset.


and...

Long exp one of my favorite things to do.
posted April 4th, 2012
Thanks for he tips Paul... I am looking forward to trying this properly.
posted April 4th, 2012
@flagged Lovely shots flagged. I think the b&w works well. And I agree, one of my fav types of shots too. Were there really 3 foot swells? Must try that tomorrow.. big waves here at the minute.
posted April 4th, 2012
@hales Really nice Hales. The little bit on the right is interesting.
posted April 5th, 2012
@jonesp Yeah the waves were 3 feet high, even with a 10-30 second exposure it would flatten and soften water.
posted April 5th, 2012
@flagged Very nice photo. I think I should buy a ND filter too...
posted April 19th, 2012
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