Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Long Exposures for Minimalism

 Nikon D700, 28 - 70mm lens at f22, 18 seconds at ISO 200 with 3 ND filters (#s 152, 153, and 154 for a total of 6 stops)

D700, 28 - 70 mm lens at f22 and 30 seconds, ISO 200, 3 ND filters

I have tried long exposures of water before but never got the smoothness I wanted so I finally got around to ordering some Cokin ND filters, not the graduated ones but the solid. Then I went back near sunset to an area in San Leon that has remnants of piers and tried again.  I could not get down to the water level like I wanted because there were huge chunks of rock covering the slope to stop erosion and they were too jagged to walk on, especially while carrying a camera and tripod.  I put the camera on Manual exposure, the shutter on bulb, set my aperture to f22 which was the smallest that lens would stop down to and began to expose some images starting at about 20 seconds up until over 1 minute while holding the 3 stacked filters in front of the lens.  I triggered the camera with a remote to prevent camera shake and even used Mirror Lock Up but I held the filters against the front of the lens and found out (after I got home and looked more closely at the images) that caused the piers to be less than sharpI always pressed the filters to the lens before triggering the shutter and I held them against the camera because I thought I was getting light leaking around the edge of the front of the lens from the space between it and the filters but now I know that is not a good technique...So I have ordered the holder and will try again. 
It is hard to believe that at one point there were probably 50 pelicans flying into this scene, landing, diving, flying by --- it looked like a pelican party but due to the long exposure they do not show up.


  1. Well done Cindy. Both are really nice shots.

  2. I agree with Larry, these are both beatutiful shots. I also think that they are perfect examples of minimalism! If there is a sharpness issue with the pier it doesn't bother me at all.


  3. Nice job on both shots. I think I prefer the darker one. I'm not sure why, other than it appeals to me more. Maybe the mood of it strikes me.

  4. I also prefer the darker one, but, I always seem to prefer the darker one. It is amazing how much you can smooth-out the water with a long exposure. I am somewhat surprised that you did not get more softness of the clouds. This would have been another great minimalism shot.