I have always really enjoyed looking at long exposure photographs. Seeing not just a single moment of capture but a scene that has been shaped by the movement and flow of time. Water rushing over a fall turned into a flowing fog, cars pulling trails of light in their wake, even clouds drifting in the sky leaving soft cotton candy like remnants. It can have such a surreal feel that is very beautiful in an image. One of the benefits to having the shutter open so long is the source of the light can move and change it’s source point, for example, during a night scene as cars drive by a monument the headlights will illuminate different areas filling in shadows and revealing details you couldn’t capture in a shorter exposure.
In a more controlled setting you can control the light yourself; if the subject is small you can illuminate it was a flashlight or as I like to do it the screen from my iPhone. As the shutter remains open I can move my phone around highlighting different parts of the subject.
I recently purchased a new B+W 10-stop Neutral density filter to create long exposure during the day (Found on <a href=”http://www.Amazon.com”>Amazon.com</a>). I have really enjoyed playing with this filter and experimenting with different subjects. My favorite image so far is the one below of a building just off of Pioneer Courthouse Square in Downtown Portland. I was drawn to a few different things with this subject. First the building was for the most part very simple with very strong geometric lines, this would be a nice contrast to the soft cotton candy puffs of clouds I was attempting to create with my long exposure. I also loved that the building had a really strong figurehead sign, the Lion. Very classic and very strong a great anchor point for the bottom of my image opposite of the clouds. I took a couple of test shots set my camera up just laying on the bricks of the side walk angled slightly using the plastic case for my filter. I got some strange looks having my camera just laying on the ground like that but the results I’m very pleased with.
So far I am very happy with this purchase my only complaint is it seems like the filter is a dust magnet I can’t seem to keep it clean and have to blow it off just about every time I use it. I really am excited to experiment more with this filter and plan on taking it to the Oregon Coast soon and next month it will come with me everywhere on my trip to Rome.