Have you tried to get night time exposures with beautiful colors that look almost daytime like or tried to create that silky water effect with water falls or creeks? I thought I would take a few minutes this morning and write a post about it and maybe help some of you who are having a hard time with it.
First of all lets define what a long exposure is and this is my take on it. Typically, a long exposure is an exposure where it is almost (not always though) impossible to hand hold the camera. It is a technique that is often used during nighttime and can produce a near daytime effect. It can also be used during the daytime hours with water to create the silky looking water movement.
One of the important things to remember is how are you going to hold the camera steady? A tripod will become your best friend. If you don't have the money or simply don't like to have to carry one, try your best to find some suitable form of stabilization such as a rock or a tree that will suitably support your camera.
This is where it gets tricky. Each time I do this, there are so many variables that can change with each set up, so I will try my best to explain. You may need to get your camera manual out for now. :)
Set the aperture. I like to start at f/8 because that is where my lens seems to have a "sweet spot" that is the sharpest. Does this mean that I always use that, absolutely not... Sometimes I like to shoot wide open at f/2.8 or even f/1.8. This allows me to let more light "in" and will let me use a faster shutter speed.
Next set your shutter speed. The shutter speed can be almost anything. My camera defaults at the longest shutter speed of 30 seconds. This is where I like to start.
Try to keep the ISO as low as possible. I start using ISO 100 but sometimes I have been known to go as high as 6400..... Keeping the lowest possible ISO will help avoid digital noise, also known as grain. Sometimes though I want that grain!
Focus, especially during night shots becomes an issue. More often than not, I turn off auto focus and manually focus. At night, I use a flashlight to help focus by shining the light and focusing. This will also help if you still want to use the auto focus.
As I mentioned earlier, there are so many variables that change all the time. Honestly, I hardly ever get it right the first time. Sometimes it takes me several shots to get what I want. Why not practice and play around, it is the digital age. It doesn't cost anything to develop the images, right? Have fun and play around!
Until next time, Keep Shootin'.