This is a series in the making, I have been experimenting with various techniques to capture sun trails for years, a new series will be released around this technique soon, but for now, here is a sneak peek.
So, I took these couple of pics a while back to put in my advertising photography portfolio. I like to bring an element of quirk to my photography, hmmm well… and to my sense of humour… so these cheeky photos probably speak somewhat of who I am.. yeah thats right… I like to make a habit of dressing in horse masks and setting buildings on fire*
*Samuel changed his last name to Burns as a result of his love of arson**
** may not be entirely accurate.
In the meantime I enjoy a fascination with pointing my camera towards the sky. Here is a shot I captured last week whilst out shooting. Oh, just for the record the other thing I wanted to be as I grew up was a photographer, I found magic in the process, it grabbed my attention and has never let go. Landscape photography has taken me to so many amazing destinations, it’s given me the chance to spend time seeing and feeling, and I’m so thankful for that!
My image Amnesia VIII has been selected as the cover for the new book by Italian author Aldo Nove, Tutta La Luce Del Mondo. I could claim that it’s a sultry novel exploring the dark recesses of the human spirit, love, lust and destiny, but I would be lying. All I really know is according to the Google machine ‘Tutta La Luce Del Mondo’ translates to ‘All of The Light Of The World’. If nothing else given my fascination with light I find an air of mystery and excitement within that notion.
If they ever release an english version of the book I’ll have to read it to find out what it’s really about. In the meantime if any of my Italian audience happen to read the book feel free to leave your review, I hope it’s a goodie!
If you want to delve into the world of long exposure photography there are a few things to know, read on to find out more!
1. Get your camera out of your hands and onto a tripod, not just any tripod either. Using a cheap flimsy tripod is a recipe for camera shake, the shutter of the camera can be enough to cause a vibration in a flimsy tripod. Although they aren’t cheap do yourself a favour and invest once in a sturdy tripod such as those by Manfrotto and Gitzo.
2. ISO, the way to go. So we are about to photograph using low light levels, first things first turn your ISO up, right? WRONG. Digital sensor noise becomes particularly bad during long exposures and the best way to avoid such noise is to shoot with a low ISO. For most circumstances my camera performs best set to 100 ISO so I try to leave it there. Simply lower the shutter speed to obtain a correct exposure, after all, with a good tripod you camera isn’t moving anywhere.
3. ND is for me. The neutral density filter can be used to great effect in landscape photography. Sometimes you are shooting on your lowest ISO and smallest aperture yet you still desire a slower shutter speed. This is where the humble ND filter steps in. Available in a variety of strengths I recommend picking up a couple and having a play with slowing your shutter speeds even further.
4. Film is great for long exposure photography as it doesn’t build the noise that digital sensors do, if shooting film however you must be aware of a trait known as reciprocity failure. Essentially it is a phenomenon whereby films sensitivity to light changes with exposure time. The easiest option for dealing with this is to find a “reciprocity chart” for the specific film you are using and refer to this when calculating exposure times.
5. Carry a torch! Often when shooting long exposure photos it will be dark or getting dark, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten a torch and had to fumble around as darkness fell. A torch is so handy to keep in your bag for such occasions.
So I decided to post a lighting diagram of a photograph I took a while back for my advertising portfolio. When lighting shiny objects such as cars what you really see is the reflection of the light source in the surface of the object, thus for this image most of the light is coming from behind/above from soft light sources in order to reflect the light towards the camera. The passenger was lit with a softbox from the from front left and the trees with a strobe placed on the ground behind the car.
Sortly after the shoot the talent who was clearly agitated from my constant direction “thats it, work it, work it, a little more, gimme blue steel, no too much too much decided to lob the mcdonalds cola at my face. Narrowly missing me it connected nicely with my trusty assistant who happened to be handling a gererator at the time. RIP fry, if you are reading from up obove take note of your new nickname*
*Events may not have happened
Shot at 1/125 sec @ f8