Friday, July 2, 2010

Sunset, life on the edge, Oregon Coast.


Sunset, life on the edge, Oregon Coast.
Originally uploaded by Douglas Remington - Ethereal Light™

238 second exposure @f14.

Here's some tips for the non Pros, and for the Pros that don't do these sort of images.
This looks like a very calm serene image from the long exposure, however waves were crashing all around me, and unto me - had to do my best to protect my camera. The long exposure just averages all the action unto a silky palate. There was delicate marine life on the rocks (as you can see) that I was positioned on, so I had to be very careful to not disturb them. This puts one's body in a very unusual and achy position for the long exposure - too long to hold a neutral grad steadily over the lens (us pros never use those clunky filter holders) to keep the sky from blowing out. The solution? Here's a little secret I learned from Oregon large format photographer, David Jensen in the mid 1990's. You take a matt black piece of artist paper or other medium, and you dodge or burn (depending whether you are shooting negative or slide) by blocking the portion over the lens (during the exposure) that would contain the sky - by moving the medium up and down. This definitely takes practice but I have been doing it ever since!

This scene was photographed with a German made 10 stop neutral density filter which blocks out most of the light - enabling you to do a very long exposure. For beginners I recommend a 6-8 stop at most. With a 10 stop (or even an 8 much of the time) you must compose and focus with the filter off, then screw the filter on before you shoot. You need a shutter release that locks your shutter open on the manual bulb setting, and here's the part that's non-scientific. The light changes drastically at sunset and sunrise, therefore you are simply guessing (or using intuition from experience) as to how long to keep the shutter locked down since we are shooting longer than 30 sec (most cameras only go up to 30sec) on the bulb setting. Luckily with digital cameras, you can just check your image immediately after the exposure. Us old film guys had to master this stuff decades ago by burning up many, many, rolls of film!

Let me know if this was helpful!

Cheers!

~dr

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