Welcome to Big Mountain Photography
(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)
This is my second time with Craig for a “1:1 teaching moment”. This time the subject is “Long Exposures” under various conditions from full sun to full rain and everything in between, i.e. this is Britan.
Raining kittens and dogs were the cards we were dealt for the day so one must have an umbrella to cover the filters as you can’t use your air bulb blower fast enough to remove the raindrops. Take Note: Need a tripod attachment to hold an umbrella as Craig wouldn’t be there next time in the rain.
The focus of this workshop was the use of Neutral Density (ND) Filters, i.e. Polarizer 2 Stops, Little Stopper – 6 Stops, Big Stopper – 10 Stops and Super Stopper – 15 Stops in conjunction with 0.6 / 0.9 Graduated Filters to balance the light from the sky and the ground.
Note: Interesting to see how long exposure photography brought to the surface various camera functions unseen before. Need to study up.
Long Exposure Location – The City of Manchester (Recognize the Manchester United Stadium above?)
In short, we learn thru doing and regretfully experiencing errors, i.e. Things Gone Wrong. We then turnaround with proper actions to mitigate errors in the future. I look forward to my future w/o errors.
My Long Exposure Check List – Work in Progress (Critical in Bold)
- Ensure the tripod is level
- Mount your camera for the horizontal or vertical shot
- Change to Manual focus.
- Stay in AF in Aperture Priority for now
- Turn off the Long Exposure Noise Reduction as it doubles your exposure time. Can address noise later if an issue or get a better body/sensor.
- Determine composition using a 1×1 Square format (RAW still at 3:2 and JPEG at 1:1)
- Lock down the panning knob on tripod
- Set lowest ISO allowed
- Set Aperture Sweet Spot: For me f/8, maybe f/11
- Manually focus with Focus Peaking while zoomed in.
- Focus 1/3 into the composition in the single point focusing mode
- Take your base shot noting the SS, shutter speed
- Check histogram for use of ND Grads
- Write down the SS as you will forget once you add the ND Filter (6S-10S-15S)
- Base Guideline:
- Sun is behind you, 1 stop (polarizer is 2 stops)
- Sun is to your left or right, 2 stops (0.6 Grad)
- Sun is in front of you, 3 stops (0.9 Grad)
- (Can always check exposure for SS on foreground to background (sky) to compare stops of difference)
- Soft or Hard: Plain unobstructed horizon = Hard, obstructed with vertical objects = Soft
Placing ND Grads in Filter Holder
- With the filter holder off the camera, place the ND Grad on the front slot pushing 1//4 of the way down.
- Go to the front of the camera to place the holder on the adapter. Why to ensure proper placement and full engagement of both the fixed side and spring-loaded wedge.Will position using the live view in the camera.
- Slide the Grad up/down watching the clouds and histogram change. Tilt left or right for the proper horizon line
- Carefully set aside
ND Filters (2-Stop, 6-Stop, 10-Stop and 15-Stop)
- Base Guideline:
- Little Stopper to blur people and movement at 1-3s
- Big Stopper to blur water and/or clouds for 30s to 1min
- Super Stopper to blur clouds w/o water for 2-4min
- Use Lee Filters Little-Big-Super Stopper App setting the SS that you wrote down to determine what the long exposure time is against the 3 options.
- Given what exposure time you desire, select the proper Stopper, i.e. 6S, 10S, or 15S.
Placing the ND & Stopper in the Filter Holder
- First, check your composition and SS for the base exposure. Still the same.
- If not, will need to use the app for the long exposure time.
- Slide the Stopper of choice in the front slot (usually a hard push) until the foam in centered for sealing against light
Placing the Holder with Filters on the Camera’s Adapter Ring
- First, switch to the full-manual mode to avoid the Auto-Focus hunting.
- Go to the front of the camera to place the holder on the adapter. with Grad & ND. Why to ensure proper placement and full engagement of both the fixed side and spring-loaded wedge.
- Recall the base exposure SS. Did you write it down?
- The Lee Filters App provide the long exposure time vs. which Stopper. What is the long exposure time? (Note: Can be off +- 2/3 of a Stop)
- Install your remote control cable or mechanical shutter release
- Change to “Bulb – B” mode for your shutter speed
- Did you switch to full manual to avoid AF hunting?
- Press and hold (or slide up) the remote watching the time count up in seconds… to your chosen long exposure time.
- Release when the long exposure targeted time is reached.
- Look at the JPEG preview’s “Histogram“,
- Any right-hand clipping of the Highlights? If yes, a shorter time is required.
- Is histogram pushed to the edge of the Highlights (RD Side)? If not, a longer time is required.
- Experiment with various times as the Lee Filters App is directional in nature and you must flavor to taste.
Removing the ND & Stopper in the Filter Holder
- Again, go to the front of the camera and remove filter holder / filter set.
- Pull out the filters and replace in your holder one by one.
- Fingerprints and/or rain drops – Need to address later with a proper cleaning.
Patronage: Please “Follow” along as our adventure continues in the UK and EU Comments, Likes, … always welcomed here.