TPF Noob!
Apr 24, 2006
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Ontario, Canada
Hey everyone, im realy into photography, and im more into the digital side. Im gonna be getting a D70 soon, and when i make some money a D200. anyhow i had this great idea, i want to make a year long exposure.

from my quick reseach seems like id be the first (though someone is working on a hundred year exposure). Anyway whats the lowest ISO film i can get (adigital camera obviously wont run for a year so im gonna need a film camera with a T-setting). with minumum ISO and 32 aperature (ill figure out the aperature later, i dont have time for math right now :p) well anyway my idea is fairly simple,

find a good tree somewhere nice, (optimum idea would be a lone tree on top of a hill where theres more hills behind it to capture the background, or to avoid desractions at the same time do one thats alone without backrgound) and then leave it to expose for a year. by the way this would be up hear in canada a litle outside toronto. the plan is it would be able to catch the leaves as they chance colour and disapear, the snow, green grass, fallen bown leaves, all that in a single exposure, and it might turn out to give a great effect.

so ya i want to jam the seasons into one, ive got some things figured out like id go far from the city so that the stars are more clearly visible, id point it north/ south to avoid the sun from making a huge streak, ect ect.

so assuming i can go down to F32 aperature, and keep the sun out, what kind of ISO film would i need to keep a year long exposure? also im guessing id need some kind of fan to blow possible snow and dust off the camera, some hood to protect from rain, obviously a good lens hood weill do though, but stuff will acumulate. so those little aspects ive got covered, i just want to get the right ISO so i dont screw it up through under/over exposure. oh and id love to get my hands some huge imax film type carrying camera in order to realy catch as much as i can. with low iso and a REALY big piece of film, i can catch amazing detail. pretty simply i want to try on my own version of the Gigapxl project combined with exremely long exposure and low iso, which would give amazing detail and low noise (if it werent for motion blur).

so yes, after all that can you tell me what ISO film i would need, and if im gonna do it regular sized then okay ill use an SLR, or if i can get custom low iso large film to use in my own built camera. thanks -Matt
Im not sure there is such a thing as what you are looking for...

However I wonder if you were to put a piece of white cotton cloth in the back of a camera and focused an image on if for a long period of time... It the fade pattern would be the same as the image from the lens.
yes but see im looking for a good high quality photo. personaly when i see pinhole cameras and the like, the old grainy appearance isnt realy for me, im more into reporoducing everything extremely accurately. so rather than getting some faded pciture i realy want something that looks real and vibrant.
Obviously Im the wrong man for you to be talking to lol. Sorry I couldn't help....

You know Hertz van rental is the man for you to talk to. He is something of a scientist genius. If anyone can help you he can. Find him and tell him I sent you.
Welcome to the forum.

I'm no expert on long exposures...but I don't think you will be able to do what you are describing...especially the "good, high quality" part. Especially in such a variable environment and with a variable subject. Maybe if you had a more controllable set up...away from any outside influences.

I'm sure it would be an interesting experiment I'd say go for it. Although it may be a life long project as I'm thinking it would require a lot of trial and error.

You could try to make such an image in the digital darkroom. You could take a number of regular photos and layer them into one file and edit your heart out.
i see your point... but it just wouldnt be the same. i mean, i can edit the photo, but i want to catch every moment of whats actualy happening. i want to capture everyphase of nature into one beautiful flowing natural work of art, pasting together images isnt for me. in terms of conditions it wouldnt have to be all that variable. a camera on tripod secured to the ground, covered (out of photo range of course) covers over the lens, stuff to blow possible snow off, you know. and i want to make a few of these and somthing like i year will be good. i plan on doing stuff like a 24 hour telephoto exposure of the CN tower, the tides, ect.

i feel like i want to present natures cycles, all its loops in a single photo that shows it all. i like the edges of the spectrum -the superfast and the superslow. million fps cameras to 100 year exposures, all sound like something i want to do. well ayway whats the lowest ISO film out there (custom or stock) and can i lower my aperature even below F32?

EDIT: just did some quick research, it seems i can even reach an F100 stop. going any further then that seems to be pretty much impractical though. so lets see, F100 stop, what kind of ISO film will i need? would 25 still be overexposed, how much lower then that can i go (ISo 25 is the lowest ive seen commercialy so far, but im sure theres some custom film or somethin out there).

only thing i dont like is that i cant isolate objects. at F100 practialy everything (from inches close to hundreds of thousands of miles away) will be in focus, an considering there will be blur (leaves being there and leaving for example) it will be hard to isolate any single object. which means, i realy have to set this shot up cause the subject has to stand out. im thinking this: ill put a diffuser behind the tree to blue out everything behind it (only slighty though of course, just enough to give a slight isolation but still see a bit of change in coulours and stuff).
how can i calculate this: 1 year exposure, F100 Aperature, __________ ISO, LV 0 (we'll assume they all even out to give an LV of 0 due to day and night, overcast to sunny, ect)

so now i have my numbers. how can i figure out the proper ISO?
lol. its okay, you should see what my science teachers have to go through. even with theyre fancy arse degrees they cant anwser an of my questions :p
All that I know is that at ISO 200 and f150 will only get you somewhere around a three second exposure in bright sunlight. Now, maybe if you put a piece of welding glass (like a 14 or 15 shade) but I'm not sure what the length of an exposure would be.
Im sure that you are smarter than all your teachers.

And I am absolutely sure you are smarter than me, but would you answer one question for a dottering old fool.

If you set your camera up for a one minute exposure of a building at night. What happens if a person rides a bike through your image area while the exposure is being made.
Why thank you Mysteryscribe, you seem to helpful to be sarcastic. i like to learn and i have a great curiosity, and im fairly smart but theres a world of things id like to learn. i assure you as much as i love photography, its far from being my only interest. Sadly as you have probabyl already noticed, my spelling and grammer suffers when i type to fast (which i usualy do) anyhow, as for your question:

It depends on one thing alot, how much of the frame the biker occupies. for example if your shooting where the building is some, 40 feet wide and covers almost the full frame, and the biker is right up against the building, the biker will quicky wiz by in some 1-3 seconds. in this time you might get an almost unnoticable - though wide- blur. if, though, you are zoomed out quite a bit, and the building your takin a photo of is among countles others downtown, that biker (once again assuming hes by the building) will appear to be moving slower relative to the frame borders, therefore that blur -though smaller- will be more opaque. so it realy it depends on his size compared to the rest of the frame.

on top of that you might expect streaks (if wearing coloure stripes, those stripes will appear to streak accross the image).

those are pretty much the biggest factors. out of my own curiousity, why do you ask?

oh and as for the original topic, ive found i can possibly make an F200 now. how about, we just assume an ISO rating of 25 or somethin (10 iso photo paper doesnt come in colour i think) then what sized aperature do i need. im guessing with the right tools i can go preeeetty low. -Matt
What do you think would happen to anything at all in your frame over a year's exposure... Im curious again.....

I didn't try to be sarcastic at all..... Actually I tried not to be sarcastic

I ask because he wont show at all no matter where he is in the frame the light paints the picture in behind him. He wont be in any one space long enough to show. The longer the exposure the less likely he is to show at all.

So given that what happens to your trees branches over the years exposure. All those changes you want to show. I don't think they will register at all that was my point. You will get something but not layer on layer of differnt things

Iso one would give you an exposure time of about 10 hours at f300. Thats a long way from a year...And I bet a smart kid like you already knew that. I bet you could extrapolate what we have all been saying. There is no iso that will let you shoot a picture with a year's exposure. Any material you do that with will be a non photo material.....
even with a pinhole aperture, you can still see an image when looking through the viewfinder of an SLR. ISO is not in this case your measurement of sensitivity. Mysteryscribe is for sure your person for this. As he's said, even with the huge numbered aperture pinhole cameras it's only going to be an exposure of 10 minutes or even a day. Even if you can sensitize a piece of cellulose yourself with next to no reactive material so that you will get the least possible exposure per minute, second, whatever... you will, as 'scribe said not see the detailed changing. This is because everything will still be happening as a ratio of the total exposure time and thus show up in that way.
Is it possible for you to compromise and go with the day long exposure, set up the camera and take a lighting on four days of the year for a quarter of a day each to capture the seasons? I really don't think it's possible to do a year long... even if it was it would take you a lifetime of trial and error with unbearable frustration when you came to the end of a year and found that despite your best efforts the paper/film was overexposed.
The idea of the welding glass is of course a possibility. But a piece dark enough to run with a non-custom ISO film sheet would be very thick even with a pinhole aperture and therefore would degrade image quality unless it was somehow made to transfer light perfectly. Then you still have the problem of objects only registering as blurs due to the proportional exposure theory mentioned above. Please correct alll things wrong so as not to mislead.
you all have great points. i know a biker wouldnt realy show but there would be a 'smudge'. not realy an opage image but a slight colour difference. i see the idea of taing 4 seperate images... but its just not the same. i agree the tree will change, but something like the branches will be pretty fixed, as would something like the ground. somethings will definately blur (leaves from shaking) but still id still have soem stuff good. like its not about being sharp, creative blur is fine. obviously i cant expect snow and leaves in a sharp image so its okay. so ya i guess i could use a non photo paper type thing, but what kind of stuff can i use, will it give me the colour quality of a normal photo? also i plan on using something of 'transitions' lenses on another camera (ill have a few at once to be safe) just like in the commercials, that way i might avoid overexposure during the day - i dont want it to be biased where the image looks like day just because it got most of its light at that time, i want to see the stars and stuff too. so ya, i could i do that, with 'transitions lenses'. anyway so what kind of extremely low ISO material can i use that will give nice colours? thanks -Matt

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