using long-exposures to broaden creativity

by Allison Zercher

using long exposures to broaden creativity photo

To use a ‘long exposure’ means to slow the shutter speed down slower than one would normally shoot at, which allows more light to hit the sensor.  There are many reasons to use long exposures – the most common of which being both to capture something in very limited light and/or to intentionally capture motion blur.  In most cases, a tripod is needed in order to either capture a stationary object in very low light or to freeze some elements of a frame while capturing the movement of others while the shutter is open.

using long exposures to broaden creativity photo

using long exposures to broaden creativity photo

An understanding of manual photography is essential for experimenting with long exposures, as slowing your shutter down will likely require you to limit light in other ways (e.g. using a low ISO or closing up your aperture one stop at a time and checking results).   There may also be some trial and error involved – you may find that your shutter is too slow for what you’re attempting to capture, or conversely, you may find that, even though you slowed it considerably, a slower shutter speed would suit your needs better.  Keep in mind, slowing or speeding your shutter will affect how much light hits your sensor, so you may need to compensate for that light in other ways.

using long exposures to broaden creativity photo

using long exposures to broaden creativity photo

I enjoy using long exposures to capture the blur of lights.  Whether it be traffic on the freeway, the trails that the stars take as they (we!) move, or my children playing with a flashlight, I find my results to be fascinating.  These types of photographs satisfy my constant need to create, create, create, without feeling caught up taking the same old photograph, day after day.  I know long exposure photography has helped me get through multiple 365 projects.   I continually find myself drawn to the movement of lights and the glow of color that can be captured with a slow shutter.

using long exposures to broaden creativity photo

using long exposures to broaden creativity photo

using long exposures to broaden creativity photo

using long exposures to broaden creativity photo

using long exposures to broaden creativity photoAllison Zercher, California
CM Mentor
website | facebook | pinterest | instagram | daily project
As a self proclaimed happy hobbyist, Allison minimally explored photography in her college years but didn’t get serious about it until 2004. Since then, she has completed several 365 projects and enjoys documenting her family, husband and two daughters, with a lifestyle approach. Ideally her days would be spent with friends and family, coffee, chips and salsa, and of course her camera, a Nikon d700, and assortment of Nikon lenses, mostly primes.

 

Read more photography tutorials from Allison Zercher.

1 Comment

  • I’ve only done a limited amount of long-exposure work, but your pieces really inspire me to try more, Allison! Thanks for sharing all the creative avenues you’ve explored with this technique!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)