Sunday, April 25, 2010

Why do a long exposure, when not necessary?

Often times, I am out there in the field taking LONG exposures when not really necessary, I mean, the mountains and the cattle gate, there is no clouds or moving water! Why bother?

Thats a great question, and has come up recently with my flickr post. Yesterday, I took an image of some mountains, that were just sitting still minding there own business. And there were no moving clouds in site, so the 51 second exposure was an over kill! Right? For that image, yes, it was an over kill. I keep telling my self that I am adding a larger depth, and for the most part, I really do believe that. The 51 seconds coupled with the post processing, yes, I do see a difference. But why do the 51 seconds when I can just put the camera on f/11 and get the same job done at 1/50 of a second? Practice! Practice makes perfect right?

A couple of weeks ago, I went down that same hill that I pictured yesterday, just to see a 100 foot waterfall. "The Devils Punch Bowl" in Ramona, California. And when I got there, I took with me my husbands 17-85mm lens because my wide lens was still in the shop. I though that my 28-135mm would not be wide enough. But, I did not have a step up ring for my B+W ND110. So, I not only had a lens I was not use to, but I had a filter that I could not put correctly on the lens. I ended up holding the filter over the lens, and only ONE image came out. All the others were destroyed because of light passing through where I did not do a good job holding the ND110 over the wrong size lens. Long story short, I was not prepared! That was a hellish walk and it was almost all for nothing! That one image made it worth the 4.2 mile hike which 100% of it was up or down. There was no level out areas! And for the record, I am NOT physically fit like the average person. Far from! I have spent the past 1.5 years NOT working out due to an unresolved work related injury! Now, I am always taking image with that filter at a much longer exposure needed because of that water fall day! Because, next time I put my self through that physical hell, I want to be SPOT ON with the photography. I want to come home with 20 great images to choose from! I will never become great until I practice, practice, practice!

And that, in a nut shell, is why I spend so much time taking an image, long exposure, of something that does not require time to be perfect! The image above, no clouds, no water, but I had a filter in hand. That was the day I received my B+W ND110. I had to run out and take a picture quick! That was the first thing I saw that I though would be a good subject, the cattle stall. I felt that the long exposure with the darkness of the filter really added such style to this image. And to convert to B&W just adding icing to the cake! Did it require 30 seconds? No! Did I learn a thing or two while out shooting for the first time with the ND110? YES!

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