Have Some Fun With Long Exposure Photography

Want to shake things up a little bit (well not literally?) Slow down the shutter speed!

Long exposure photography.

Doctor Strange, I presume? Sony a7 | 28mm f/2.8 | 8″ exposure

This Fourth of July in the DC area was, frankly, awful for those of the pale redhead persuasion. The heat was awful. The humidity was awful. I think what I’m saying is that the weather was awful. So rather than fight the crowds, and the Metro, and the heat and all of that jazz, we decided to have a family night in the back yard, with sparklers. Yeah, probably sounds kind of lame – nothing to go boom!

But, I looked at it as opportunity to fart around with my camera and see what happens. Now I’m not such a n00b that I don’t know what happens when you set a camera to a long exposure time and point it at a moving light source – I’ve used it before to streak headlights and to make star trails. What I wanted to do, however was use the opportunity to make some interesting pictures and make the most of what was available.

It makes a great effect, and best of all, if you have the right equipment, it’s stupid easy to do.

You will need:

  • A camera (I’m sure you gathered that…)
  • A lens (I’m really being freakin’ Captain Obvious here, aren’t I?)
  • A tripod
  • The cover of darkness
  • Some kind of moving light source. I’ll explain below.

Ok, now that we have that out of the way I took my A7, and mounted it to a tripod. For my lens I used the Sony 28mm f/2.0, but really any focal length should be fine. I wanted a lot of space to move around, but I still wanted to be relatively close, so I opted for a wide-angle. It probably goes without saying, but since you’ll need a light source for this to work, you should do it at night. For my aperture, I kept it around f/5 to f/8. It doesn’t really matter that much since most of your movement will be blurred out anyway. Then, I set the exposure to anywhere from 6″ to 10″ and let ‘er rip.

Finding a moving light source was easy. My fiancé, my stepdaughter, and myself just ran around with sparklers and the let the camera do the work for me. For an interesting effect, hit the shutter then pick up the tripod and slowly move the camera around, keeping the light-source in the frame. It creates an interesting, blurred background while still keeping the subject in the shot.

Please be sure to check out my some of the pictures I took below, and as always, please let me know what you think the comments below.

Until next time, later my photonerds!

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