slow shutter speed photography...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by jonas, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. jonas

    jonas TPF Noob!

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    hi there so im new to the forum. So theres this photographer called Rut Blees Luxemburg(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rut_Blees_Luxemburg), a german who specializes in night time photography and she uses really long exposure times to create these brilliant images. You may have seen her work on the cover of the new Bloc Party album. Well basically i know not a hell of a lot about shutter speeds and exposure times..Well basically id love to try my hand at that sort of photography ie taking night time pictures with the camera on long exposure..i just love that look http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Shutter_speed_slow_(2).jpg As a beginner though i dont think it would be wise to go out and purchase a pro camera that i wopuldnt have a clue how to use and also im not made of money! But where would be a good place to start...do i go down th digiatal route or what?? im only a beginner and i guess at this stage im just nurturing but what would you guys advise?? id really appreciate any advice.....
     
  2. Efergoh

    Efergoh TPF Noob!

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    Digital and long exposures are not really a happy marriage. Now, when I say long exposure, I mean exposures that are measured in minutes. I don't think 35mm yields enough detail to justify the effort involved.

    If long exposure photography is what you want to try, I suggest exploring some low end medium format cameras whose shutters have a "T" setting (many 35mm cameras do not). You don't have to limit yourself to night time photography for long exposure. You can use neutral density filters to slow down light in your camera and get those long exposures during the day.

    I would suggest that you take at least a basic photography class and learn the fundamentals of photography before diving into long exposures.
    Walk before you run, and Crawl before you walk.
     
  3. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hi Jonas, welcome to ThePhotoForum.
    The FAQs say please not to post multiple posts into different forums, so I merged your posts and deleted one of them. OK?

    A photo like the one in the example you are showing can be achieved fairly easily.
    All you need is a tripod, a camera on that, a good spot, night time, the camera manually set to a long exposure (not necessarily minutes, 15 - 20 seconds will also do), and a car going by. That's all.

    Browse this forum by using the SEARCH button entering "Light Trails" or "City Lights" or even "Long Exposures", for example, and you will find photos on here that I personally think are of a much, much better quality than the one that you are using as your example here. Sorry if I am saying something not-so-good about someone who maybe is a very prominent and famous photographer, but that is what I think: that photo is not really good.
     
  4. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    And if you are interested, I can show you an example photo of lighttrails taken with a very normal compact digital camera, often also referred to as "point-and-shoot", which only allows me to go down to f8 and a maximum of 15 seconds as its longest possible expousre, and it still works. So to achieve this does not ask for a big, expensive camera. All you need to know is a bit of photography.
     
  5. jonas

    jonas TPF Noob!

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    cheers guys thanks very much..aye i know that photo was just quick to hand so i copied and pasted it..I know that the more i know the more ill be able to get out of photography.so you say that the point and shoot consumer models would be able to produce that effect...Interesting, i guess illl just have to educate myself a bit more but yeah id love to see some better examples too.
     
  6. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hang on, there is one thing that I now no longer understand: the photo that you used as your example for the much-admired-by-yourself nighttime photography of that Rut Blees Luxemburg ... whose photo is it? Is it the work of that self-same Rut Blees Luxemburg or is it YOUR photo, and YOUR attempt to copy her work?
     
  7. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    This is the thread I was thinking about and the second photo has one light trail, but as I can see, you have already found other night photos taken in bigger cities than precisely Brandenburg in Brandenburg in East Germany........ OK.
     
  8. neea

    neea TPF Noob!

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    I'll join you LaFoto.
    I too believe that no special equipment or medium format camera is required for this. It sounds silly really.
    Any camera that has the ability to change the shutter speed manually can do this. Even point and shoots.

    Welcome to the forum jonas. I hope we can all help you learn the great world of photography.
     
  9. jonas

    jonas TPF Noob!

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    the photo you see when you click on the link? i dunno whose that is...it aint mine thats for sure.
     
  10. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    All you need is any old camera that has "B" for Bulb.

    It's called bulb because, photographers used to use an air bulb to open and close the shutter. (not because of Flash Bulb) :sexywink: Thumb over the hole in the end, made it pressurize and open the shutter or later create a vacuum to close the shutter.

    You don't need a fast lens, flash, light meters, or much else, because all the electronics and devices become pretty much useless for long exposures.

    You can have a watch with a sweep second hand or just count to yourself if you are good at it. I don't think anyone will argue that 2:02 is going to make any difference from 1:58 with four seconds difference.

    Time exposures do take an understand of the basics, but after that, it's mostly experimental. Which makes it fun. It's also not high science, so there's allot of room for error and you'll still get pictures.

    You need a camera that has a hole for cable release, a tripod, a cable release THAT LOCKS, and A NOTE BOOK. (some film of course) You can use pretty much whatever lens you have, because speed doesn't matter, but composition does, so you'll have to work within those limitations. It doesn't have to be sharp or expensive. Long exposures have a tendency to show light flare. You are going to be shooting at f/8 or more to get good depth of field.

    If you can find a cheap digital kitchen timer at the local dollar store, get one. You can use that for a reminder on the longer exposures, so you don't have to sit and watch the clock.

    The locking cable release is so you can take those long exposures and not have to stand, holding it open. If you are camping, you can go have a beverage, walk around, eat some chips... ;)

    You take your film camera, find something you want to photograph that has some light coming from it or falling on it. Set up the shot. Get your notebook and write down the conditions, lens, film speed, settings, and description of the lighting. All pictures f/8 #1=1/60th, 2=1 second, 3=5 seconds, 4=15 seconds, 5=30 seconds, 6=1 minute, 7=2 minutes, 8=3 minutes, 9=5 minutes, 10=10 minutes, 11=15 minutes.

    Find another scene. Take notes, take 11 more pictures in the above sequence or whatever you decide you like, but you need a range from what will probably be under exposed to what will be too much exposure.

    24 exposure roll, this leaves you 2 or 3 pictures for mistakes, unplanned lights or errors.

    If it's something like a bright Moonlight, use the last two or three pictures and shoot 4 minutes at f/8 of whatever strikes you as interesting.

    Go get the film processed. Line the pictures up and see what you got. Now you can see what each time does, how the light changes, how the sharpness changes... how the color changes.

    You can do this with a $2 camera from a resale shop, because what you basically need is the tripod, shutter release cable and some film. Better camera, better pictures. But the point is, that for the purposes of learning, you don't need anything fancy or expensive. They sell film at the dollar stores too.

    You'll always need a tripod in the future, so that's not a waste.

    The cable release is another story. I still carry one, but none of my digital cameras have a connection for it. :lol:

    Some cameras you can push the button and swing the lock on the trigger and they stay open. This is risky because the camera is going to move around.

    Keep this in mind. Have Fun! Experiment.

    When you get down the basics, you can start to "paint" light with a flashlight on things you want to highlight in your time exposure. You can do all sorts of entertaining things. With a lens cap, you can leave the shutter open and do double and triple exposures. (very carefully, never closing the shutter) Take a night scene, then cover the lens, aim at the Moon and put it up in the corner of the picture.

    You can mix two or three subjects that have different exposures, and they will blend into one.
     
  11. Efergoh

    Efergoh TPF Noob!

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    Again, I point to long exposure being measured in minutes, not seconds. Even if we go with seconds, both my 35mm SLR, and my DSLR only go to 30 seconds, then to Bulb. Since neither of them can accept a cable release, the bulb setting is useless to me because I fear that holding the shutter for longer than 30 seconds (or even 10 seconds) will yield camera shake.

    I've never seen an SLR or a DSLR with a T setting for the shutter. For those who don't know, T = Time. With the Bulb setting, the shutter will remain open for as long as you hold it open. With T or Time, you fire the shutter release once to open the shutter, and again to close it. You don't have to sit there and hold it open.

    And I still feel that 35mm is too small to yield the excellent results that are possible from long exposures. You don't need to drop a mint on a MF camera to do this, either. I have a Lubitel TLR (Russian knock off of a Rolliflex) for which I paid $20. Focusing is tricky at times because the ground glass isn't much to write home about, but it is still doable.

    I used this camera along with a couple ND filters (not needed at night) and shot long exposures 5-20 minutes during the day. I set up the shot, attached the cable release, opened the shutter, had a smoke and a coke, came back and closed the shutter. I need to dig out those negs and make some prints. They look pretty damned good if I must say so myself, and I really didn't put that much effort into it.

    Not to mention the fact that I think using el cheapo ruskie knock off cameras puts some of the child like fun back into photography...kinda like a Holga. :)
     
  12. neea

    neea TPF Noob!

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    30 seconds is quite a long time when the shutters open.
    I sit there ready to panick 'OMG ITS STUCK' then Click!
    30 seconds feels like forever.

    But I guess it depends how much blur you want to.
    You can get blur in under a second and definatley at 30 seconds.
     

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