Long exposure photography

pcpaulh

Active member
I know theres a few camera enthusiasts on the site so thought I'd ask here for some advice.

My new camera arrived today, bit of a step up from my old fuji although its not an DSLR.

Its got lots of features some of which I understand some of which I don't, I'm only just learning about photography really.

I'd like to have ago at taking some pictures like this one:



This isn't my picture, just using as an example.

Can anyone tell me the sort of settings I need to use to acheive this?

I tried it whilst running the bath briefly and just ended with plain white, I take it this means I over exposed it?

Any help would be great, thanks.
 
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MarkTheSpark

Guest
Christian. You need to have good manual control settings to make it work. Visit your spot at dawn or dusk when there's not too much light around. You MUST have a GOOD tripod. The great thing about digis is that you can always check your results and try again straight away. Here's the griff.

Do a basic meter reading; let's say you are getting (at 100 ISO) 30th sec at f5.6. A 30th is too fast to give the motion blur effect in your picture. So change the shutter speed. Double the exposure time (= 15th sec) means halving the aperture (= f8. The standard shutter stops, each halving the amount of light, are f1.4, f2, f2.8, f3.5, f5.6, f8, f11, f16, f22, f32, f64)

That might work, but if it's still not a slow enough shutter speed, double the exposure time to 1/8 sec and halve the aperture, to f11. Are you following this? The amount of light stays constant each time, you just compensate exposure time with aperture.

In my experience, you'll need 1/4 to 1 second, maybe more, to get the lovely soft water effect. Good luck, mate
 

The Monk

Well-known member
judging by the light on that one I would just use an auto setting but with a tripod, for darker shots however, as jace says use BULB and a cable release if your camera is fitted with one, BULB is normally set on the widest apperture smallest F stop for the greatest depth of field, what you are basically doing is keeping the lense open to allow the photo medium to focus in the dark, dont be afraid to use flash painting either, thats is to say a separate flash gun fured at differnt parts of the subject away from the camera and tripod. try using BULB for things like forework displays or lightening, you will get some fantastic effects.
 

Bryan Baron 2

Well-known member
You are looking for wavey white water this gives it that misty look.

Also try using diffrent shutter speeds as the speed of the water dictates how long you need the shutter open slower longer faster shorter.
 
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Wolfman Woody

Guest
Christian, have a look at this article on our sister site, ThinkCamera.

Some good tips in it and the first example shows much more of what slow shutter speeds and small apertures can give you. You might also study the effect of choosing a slower equivalent film speed, ASA50 or less if possible and as JP says, maybe adding a neutral density filter if needs be.

Even so, a lot of this fudging of water has become a little commonplace now. Sometimes you need to show the action and for that need to stop cascading water where it stands - fast shutter speeds and medium apertures to capture the depth of field.
 

Paul H

Well-known member
My two penneth this - see if your camera has an 'aperture priority' or 'AV' setting and a 'shutter priority' or 'TV' setting.

Shutter priority means you choose the shutter speed you want and the camera chooses the aperture automatically. Aperture priority is the same in reverse.

Find some running water, choose shutter priority then take one picture after another changing the shutter speed each time. Start with a fastish speed like 125th of a second and work your way down to a whole second exposure or longer.

When you review the photos (isn't digital useful!) you will see how the speeds affect the image.

Definately use a tripod for exposures slower than 60th of a second or you'll likely get camera shake. And the ND filter if it's too bright to use a slow shutter speed.

You can combine flash with slow shutter speeds to get interesting effects too, like this:

 
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MarkTheSpark

Guest
And now, utterly confounded by old men talking jargon, Christian retires to bed with a headache wishing he'd never asked.
 

pcpaulh

Active member
Mark it's all partly understood, honest/forum/smilies/thinking_smiley.gif

My camera seems to be able to do most of these things so thats good news only downside is I can't get the aperture past F8. Don't know how much this will hold me back really though.

Paul it has both Av and Tv settings /forum/smilies/smile_smiley.gif

Cheers guys
 

Paul H

Well-known member
The best way to understand the effect different settings have is to experiment with them. Just do it in a logical way like working your way through the shutter speeds as above.

The try the same with the AV (aperture priority) setting. It doesn't have to be an interesting subject just something that will allow you to see the differences. Place a small object like a cup or similar on the grass photograph it from around 4 or 5 feet away keeping the camera low to the ground. Lying down resting on your elbows should be fine and focus on the cup each time.

Again work through the apertures from one end of the scale to the other. You should see more and more of the grass in front and behind the cup coming into focus on each shot if you work from lower numbered apertures upwards.

Available apertures and shutter speeds vary from camera to camera with the greatest range usually on SLR models.

Common apertures (also known as f.stops)range from f2.8 through f4.8, f5.6, f6.5, f8.0, f11 and more up to as much as f30 or more. The range even on an SLR varies with the lens you're using as the aperture is the size of hole within the lens the light can pass through.

Confusingly the larger the hole (aperture) available the smaller the number that represents it so f2.8 is a larger hole (more light passing through) than f8.0 for example.

You will notice particularly with sports and wildlife photographers that they often have gigantic lenses, this is not only because they are zoom or long focal length lenses but also because to let enough light in the actual glass lenses insidehave to have a large diameter to offer large apertures. This makes them blinkin expensive.

Compare this with this, ok the one fixed at 300mm is a much better lens in other respects too but it's the size of the optics in it that allow to go down to f2.8 where the cheaper zoom is stuck at f5.6 at the 300mm end of it's zoom range.

It may not sound much but a bit of extra light through the lens can allow you to user a vital faster shutter speed for fast moving footballers or wildlife.

All automatic cameras measure the available light then balance the aperture and shutter speed to allow a very specific amount through to the film (or CCD in digitals). The speed of the film (50 ISO is not as sensative to light as 400 ISO) so thiss too affects the calculation the camera makes. Digitals sometimes allow you to choose a film speed and similar to film you will see that the faster the film speed the grainier the results will appear.

I've deliberately used 1600 ISO film before to get grainy images.

When you get your head around shutter speeds, apertures, film speeds and how they interact you really can tailor them to control how your images look.

Have I rambled on or was that useful?
 
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MarkTheSpark

Guest
As useful as my post on the same subject, Paul!!/forum/smilies/wink_smiley.gif
 
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MarkTheSpark

Guest
Christian. I suspect the reason you can't get below f8 is because the camera is in an auto mode, and in the light at the time, that was a min. aperture to get an exposure. On a sunnier day you would have got f11, f16, and so on.

Read the manual again, and ensure you have found the camera's manual mode(not shuuter or aperture priority); I know of no camera ever made that won't get down to f22
 
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Wolfman Woody

Guest
Hi Christian.

What make / model of camera did you get? I got a Fujifilm S9600 for crimble. Still trying to work out all the permutations.

Not as simple as my old Minolta st303 with match needle metering and all manual. But starting that way helps you to appreciate the combinations of aperture, shutter speed and film speed.

All filters take some light out of the shot, even Skylight filters take about 5% out. I don’t suggest you get any, but neutral density filters usually come in x2, x 4 and x8. Meaning they allow half, quarter, and one eighth the amount of light through.

The filter to get yourself would be a polariser, they take out a certain amount of light, usually equal to a ND x2, but you cut through surface glare to get excellent pictures of your fish.

Paul’s posting explaining it all is good. I’m going to have a look at my camera now to see if I can get a smaller aperture that f8. I seem to remember seeing an f11, but it too depends on the focal length of the lens you’re using. Set it at wide angle and you may only go down to f8, but set it a full telephoto and you may get f16 – I don’t know without knowing the camera. Same with the widest, at full wide angle you may see f2 even, but zoom in and it will diminish to an f5.6

As I remember these are the steps starting from f16 as a value of 1. F11 lets in twice as much, f8 lets in twice as much again, f5.6 twice again, f4 twice, f2.8 twice and around f1.7 or f1.8 twice as much again. So between f16 and f2.8, say, you’ll let in 32 times more light as ever step up is times 2.
 
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Wolfman Woody

Guest
Ok, I tried it on mine and the only way I could get to f11 was on full manual.

It must be a restriction on the lens, but what do you expect when the camera only costs as much as a half decent DSLR lens anyway? I think for most photo opportunies it will be fine.

.

Another effect of widening the aperture is that it shortens the depth of field.

Example - a main subject set at 6 feet from the lens - at f16 you will get everything in focus from maybe 15 feet down to 3 feet. But at f2.8 you will only get everything in focus from maybe 8feet down to 5 feet, if you're lucky.

For landscapes therefore you want to select small apertures (f8, f11) and get the maximum depth of field in. But for portraits you want a wide aperture (f.2 f2.8) to get the face detail and everything outside it will blur out. This focuses attention to the face.

Tip given to me by Ray Walton, expert barbel angler. When taking a photo of someone holding a fish, get them to hold it as close to their chest as possible to get everything in the same focal plane and sharp.
 

pcpaulh

Active member
Christian. I suspect the reason you can't get below f8 is because the camera is in an auto mode, and in the light at the time, that was a min. aperture to get an exposure. On a sunnier day you would have got f11, f16, and so on.

This would make sense mark as I was using the camera in the evening in low light. I was defnatly in manual mode, will give it ago during daylight.

Jeff I bought the canon G9 as I wanted somehtign still fairly compact. I did look at the S9600 though as Dad has one a few down from that and I was well impressed.

Cheers for all the advice guys it really has helped.
 
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MarkTheSpark

Guest
The Canon G9 is a superb camera, Christian. Work hard at it and you'll get some super shots.
 
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Wolfman Woody

Guest
Nice camera Christian, as Mark says, get to understand it and you will get some good shots. Composition is 9/10ths of a picture, remember that and don't worry too much about technical stuff.

.

However, I just looked at a review and it says -

Aperture Range f/2.8-4.8 - f/11.0

The F2.8 will be effective on wide angle settings (your 35mm) and it will close down to F4.8 at the telephoto (your 210mm) setting. These are the widest apertures, of course, but the same might apply to the smallest aperture in that it could juts be F8 at wide angle and F11 at telephoto - everything being relative.

Don't concern yourself with it anyway. If you want to take moving water that blurs, just put the camera on a tripod, set the film speed to ISO (ASA) 80 (that seems to be your slowest), on shutter priority mode set it to the slowest, and see what aperture it will select for you.
 
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