Tag: long exposure

Shooting at Night with the Fuji X100

November 29, 20120 Comments

I’m currently on vacation on the island of Maui.  Each time I come to the Islands I hope to get a chance to shoot the Milky Way from atop Haleakala, weather and moon permitting.  Well once again, it hasn’t worked out because I’m here during a full moon phase.  I decided to make the best of it and head down to a relatively dark area near the water hoping I could at least get a glimpse of the Milky Way.  I set the ISO to 5000 on the D700 and tried a few long exposure shots to see if I could locate it.  No luck, the moon was just too bright.  I had my Fuji X100 along, so I decided to try some long exposure shots.

I usually have the ISO set to auto on the Fuji X100 and aperture priority mode.  So I needed to change the settings to force it to ISO200 and also set the shutter dial to “T” so I could adjust the length of exposure.   The other issue came when I tried to focus.  Because it was relatively dark, there wasn’t enough contrast to focus on anything.  The Moon was at my back so I turned and focused on the Moon then set the switch on the side to manual focus so it would basically stay at infinity.  Since I don’t have a remote shutter release yet, I set the camera to a 2 second timer release and set it on the tripod and fired away.  This is the first shot.  I was impressed.  The noise is manageable and rather quite impressive for a small camera.  You can see it almost looks like daylight.  The Moon was very bright.

Maui Beach at Night

Here is the second shot, I had the aperture wide open.  There was a little path light just behind the camera on the right that was helping to illuminate the kayaks.

Kayaks Maui

And the final shot taken with the Fuji X100 sitting on a fence rail.  I set the ISO back to AUTO and this was taken at ISO 1600, 20 second exposure.  It had a lot of noise.  I used Topaz DeNoise to help reduce the effect.  I would recommend forcing the camera to the lowest ISO possible, which is always a good idea for long exposure images, especially if you are using a camera with a smaller sensor.  This is something I can get away with on my Nikon with its full frame sensor.

Maui Beach at Night

I’ve been very impressed with the capabilities, features and ease of use of the Fuji X100 and will definitely use it when I don’t want to lug around the larger camera and all the lenses.  I’ll have more examples in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned.

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My Experience with the B&W 10 Stop ND Filter

October 14, 20120 Comments

I love the look of those really long exposure images that are captured with multiple stop ND filters, especially 10 stops or more.  I’m even more passionate about the black and white photos, there’s something about them that stirs me, maybe the surreal feel.   There are many options for 8 to 10 stop filters ranging from the Singh-Ray Vari-ND, the Lee Big Stopper or the filter I chose, the B&W 110 – 10 stop filter.  There are also many more less expensive options available.  There are 2 versions of the B&W filter, the single coated version and the multi-coated version.  I opted for the multi-coated version as I understand it should help with flare and reflections.  With the B&W filter there is about a $70 difference between the two.  You should be able to buy the B&W multi-coated version for around $180 for a 77mm filter.

B&W110

I purchased a single coated version about a year ago, but somehow it got damaged in my camera bag.  It wasn’t obvious at first, but the metal was slightly dented and wouldn’t screw onto the lens properly.  Even though I had it in its protective case, I’m guessing someone got a little too aggressive trying to fit their luggage into the overhead bin on a flight and bent the filter.  I now put my camera bag under the seat in front of me. Lesson learned.

10 stops filters are great for blurring cloud movement, making waterfalls are silky, smoothing out rough water and making moving cars and people seem like they have disappeared.  The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

I’ve read about people experiencing color shifts with some of the filters.  I haven’t noticed anything with the B&W, though I’m converting to black and white so I’m not too concerned about the color shifting.  I also shoot in RAW so I can easily fix and shift.  It also seems to be more prevalent in the cheaper filters.

So now that I replaced the filter with the new multi-coated version, I was excited to give it a try.  I received the filter a few days before a business trip to London so I thought I would shoot the London Eye during daylight hours and see if I could slow the shutter down enough with the 10 stop filter to blur the ferris wheel and possibly be lucky enough to also have some fast-moving clouds that would feather out during the long exposure.  One afternoon I headed down to the Thames and set up my tripod across from the Eye.   Once you put the filter on your lens you can’t see anything through the viewfinder, so you will want frame your image, take note of the exposure settings and once you have the lens focused, set it to manual focus, then you can attach the filter.   I wanted as long as an exposure as I could get, so I set the aperture to f22 and since I was in aperture priority mode the camera showed a 2 second exposure without the filter.   Now you need to add approximately 10 stops to the shutter speed, which made it 20 seconds, I decided to try a 25 second exposure.   Here is the result.

London Eye

London Eye – 10 Stop Filter

This image is pretty close to what I was looking for.  I wish the clouds were a little more feathered, but overall I’m happy with the photo.  I did all the processing in Lightroom 4.  There were a couple of boats that passed through while the shutter was open, but as you can see, they just seem to disappear.  Pretty cool stuff.  I have lots of ideas for the filter and can’t wait to try them out.  I’ll post the images.

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Movement and Long Exposure

August 7, 20120 Comments

Ferris Wheel [Explored]

This is a recent long exposure photo I took of the new Ferris Wheel on Pier 57 on the Seattle waterfront with my D700 and the Nikon 24-70 lens.  I cranked down the aperture (f16) so I could get a longer exposure. The exposure was 6 seconds.  The Ferris Wheel turns rather slow and I needed as long of an exposure as I could get to capture the movement. I had to time it right because the Ferris Wheel kept stopping to load and unload passengers. I really didn’t need a lot of DOF in this photo since there was nothing close to the camera so I could have been fine with a larger aperture. I really like how this turned out with the orange sky over the Olympic mountain range and the nice blue hour sky. I processed this in Lightroom4 and took advantage of the highlights and shadows sliders especially to tone down the bright area at the base of the ferris wheel. You can click on the image and see a larger version up on my Flickr page. It’s also available for sale on my portfolio site at http://jmclarkphoto.com , then click on the “Recent” link under the portfolio link.

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