When each frame takes a half a minute or more to capture, the road to learning long exposure photography can be a long one. Here’s a much-needed shortcut to get started with this classic photo technique.
What’s really great about long exposure photography near bodies of water is that it helps to simplify the scene. As Andy Mumford points out in this video, the water will usually add a lot of texture and visual noise to a regular photograph, distracting the viewer from the lines and forms that were important in the image. Many people enjoy these more simplistic, surreal looking photos that long exposures create.
The gear needed to create long exposures isn’t too complicated. Besides a tripod, a neutral density filter is needed to block some light from reaching the camera sensor, this way the shutter speed can be decreased all the way down to 30 seconds or even a minute or more. Beginners sometimes rely too much on stopping down the aperture of their lenses to f/22 for slower shutter speeds, but this creates softer images due to diffraction. You’ll want to find a neutral density filter strong enough that it can bring your shutter speed down to long exposure levels while still having the aperture in the optimum f/8–f/11 range.
For more help on long exposure photography, be sure to watch the full video from Mumford above.