Ten Mistakes in Long Exposure Photography
- Nov 19, 2019
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Born in Italy in 1981, photographer Francesco Gola works as an engineer. His shore long exposure works are well-organized and magnificent, and enjoy high popularity on 500 PX.
In all the seminars I held in Italy in 2015, I will do a little research. At the end of the seminar, I asked all the participants to write down to me on a piece of paper the three most common photographic mistakes they made before class. Therefore, I decided to select 10 of the most common mistakes made in long exposure photography from all the collected materials for illustration.
Error 1: The anti-shake system is set to open
There are some very cute technologies that can help us get sharper images and reduce the blurring caused by the vibration of the fuselage. This technology is very useful for low-light slow-speed photography. Although different brands have different names for this function, their roles are much the same (like Nikon and Canon cameras, which use lens shake-proof technology, while Sony, Olympus and Binder use fuselage shake-proof technology). But in the final analysis, this shock absorption technology can reduce the shutter speed of the fourth gear for shooting while keeping the quality of the picture unchanged. Anti-jitter technology uses sensors to detect jitter and compensate by moving lens modules or sensors themselves. The problem is that if the camera is on a relatively stable tripod (of course, if you are exposing for a long time, then your camera must be on the tripod), then the possibility of vibration is very small. Maybe you know this, but your camera doesn't, so even if it's not moving, the anti-jitter system will try to compensate for the jitter by moving lens or sensor, which actually causes jitter (or blur) rather than eliminating them. So, if your camera stays on the tripod, let's turn off the anti-shake function.
Error 2: Forget to use reflector pre-lift
In a SLR camera, light passes through the lens and is reflected back into the viewfinder by the reflector. When the shutter is pressed, the reflector is retracted so that the light can be directly projected onto the sensor. This movement causes tiny vibration of the fuselage, leading to blurred photos. To avoid this vibration, you can activate the pre-lift function of the reflector. After activation, when the shutter is pressed for the first time, the reflector will be raised, and when you press the shutter again, the camera will be taken. Don't underestimate the seconds interval in this area. It can keep the fuselage from shaking! Of course, if you're using a no-reflex camera, consider my suggestion as nonsense.
Error 3: Not using gradient filters because of the shyness in the bag
In some cases (where the light ratio is not very large), you can get the desired results with only a medium gray density mirror. However, in many cases, light conditions require us to use medium gray gradient mirrors to maintain exposure balance. If you're using a screw-in ND filter, you might think that the only way to use a GND filter is later PS, but you're wrong! You can grab the filter with your hands and put it in front of the camera. For a shutter speed that takes several seconds to expose, your only problem is to adjust the filter in your hand correctly. For a few minutes of photography, even if your hands aren't rock-solid, the end result will be satisfactory (try it yourself if you don't believe it). Of course, filter racks are still needed, especially when multiple filters are used simultaneously (or when your hand cramps).
Error 4: Set the aperture to f/22 to extend exposure time
The rule is simple: if you reduce the aperture, you will get a longer exposure time. Driven by this rule, you may be naive to think that just by moving your finger and adjusting the aperture from f/11 to f/22, you can extend the exposure time from 30 seconds to two minutes. In theory, this is not wrong. Unfortunately, there is a physical phenomenon called optical diffraction, that is, when the aperture is less than f/16, the sharpness of the image will be greatly reduced. If you already use the f/11 and crave a slower shutter speed, lowering the ISO or using a dimming filter will be a better choice.
Error 5: Forget to adjust the sensitivity
Sensitivity is a big boost in long exposure. Sometimes you may forget to adjust the sensitivities and only take care of apertures and filters. Keep in mind that each camera has a range of sensitivities within which its output quality is almost the same. In advanced cameras, this range is usually ISO 50 to ISO 200. This means that you will have two shifts of adjustment space, while in long exposure photography, two shifts mean a few minutes of exposure time.
Error 6: Film like in a studio
When you shoot in a comfortable room or studio, there are no external factors that can affect the quality of your photos. But if you stand on the rocks by the sea and face the magnificent sea storm, it won't be long before your filters are completely "wet". Don't forget to put a clean mirror cloth in your bag before you leave. Even the smallest droplets of water on the filter will cause a very high diffraction phenomenon, which will destroy the photo once. Never underestimate the power of nature. Even in a clear sky, changing the sky is just a piece of tea.
Error 7: Choosing inferior filters
Every time a filter is added in front of the lens, the overall quality of our optical system will inevitably be reduced. Sure, some well-known brands of filters are very expensive, but are you really sure to put a dozen pieces of filters in front of your lens? No, never! So pay attention to quality: for filters heavy quality not weight! You don't need to assemble all the models of ND and GND filters. Try to find out which filter you use most often, and then remember to use your ISO and aperture to supplement the filter. Finally, keep in mind that many high-quality filters are actually very people-friendly. Make good use of the Internet.
Mistake 8: Underestimating the Power of Wind
When you have long exposure, your camera will also be affected by the external environment because of the exposure for several minutes. Even the occasional seconds of wind will make your success or failure. Buy a stable tripod and place it properly. If necessary, add extra weight to the tripod hook to increase the stability of the tripod. Avoid using the tripod center axle, lifting the center axle will reduce the stability of the tripod.
Error 9: No Viewfinder Covered
After three minutes of exposure, the preview revealed that the photos were full of strange purple edges and halos. Why is that? Although the camera only wants light to pass through the lens, unfortunately there are other potential ways to hurt your photos. And the most famous of them is the viewfinder. To prevent light from entering from here, remember to cover it after focusing. If your camera doesn't provide you with a lid, you can use black tape. If unfortunately there is no tape, chewed gum is better than nothing. The most typical result of viewfinder exposure is halo. Yes, if you have a reverse camera or not, please ignore me again! If you use a socket filter system, another possible way to leak light is through the gap between the filters (which is why many photographers like screw filters). In this case, the best solution is to use black tape. The most typical form of filter leakage is the appearance of purple edge. Finally, if you use a shift lens or install a lens adapter ring, the problem of light leakage may occur on the lens. The best way to solve this situation is to cover it with a scarf.
Error 10: Credible Filter Manufacturer
When you painstakingly buy a six-stage ND filter, and naively think it can really give you six-stage effect. Unfortunately, you are wrong again. In my lifetime, I have never found a filter that is absolutely consistent with the manufacturer's publicity. Of course, the difference is usually small, but even half-way differences mean a few minutes'error in long exposure.
To avoid these errors, try the following steps:
Choose a room, turn on the light and close the window. (You need a place where the light is absolutely stable) Set up a camera and take a picture of the room until you get a perfect histogram. Record all shooting data (sensitivity/aperture/shutter speed). Install ND filter, then adjust the fuselage parameter settings to make exposure consistent with previous photos. Take a photo with ND filter and observe the histogram of the two photos and compare them. If they are identical, the specifications of the filter manufacturer are accurate. If the new histogram is left, your filter is higher than what he claimed; conversely, if it is right, the actual size of the filter is lower than the manufacturer's label.
If the histogram cannot coincide, change the shutter speed to take another one, so as to obtain the histogram that can coincide with the sample without filter. When you find a satisfactory filter, try to build your own shutter speed conversion table. Another possible way is to install PhotoPills on your smartphone, which allows you to quickly get the right shutter speed when using filters.
These ten errors need to be avoided in long exposure photography.