For the second part of my Long Exposure tips I’d like to focus on ambient conditions and the necessity of subject. The image I made above is of Aberdeen’s St. Machar Cathedral. In contrast to the images in the first post this was taken on the evening as the Sun was starting to go down and the light was more diffuse. If you look at the front of the building you will see the the direction the Sun was coming from. I wanted the light to rake across the subject to highlight texture and give a more subdued feel to the final image. It also falls on the broad side of the grave stones, giving some detail along the leading lines. The clouds were moving across the image and the Sun was partially obscured by cloud so it wasn’t too bright. The ISO was 320 at F8 for 125secs, I was originally going to go for a 240 sec exposure but I wanted some ghosting (look closely!) in the image.
This next image is not a Long Exposure it was taken early afternoon. The settings were ISO 200, F11, 1/500 sec. The reason I’ve included this is to illustrate the point I made in the first post regarding subject. Now I could have used a longer exposure time in this instance but I quite liked the people bottom right giving a sense of scale to the large street art image which is the main subject. There are other visual keys to give the scale but I think this is the stronger composition. ultimately Long exposure is a case of trial and error, there is no right and wrong in image creation. But take a metaphorical step back and think about the subject of your shot. Is the exposure enhancing or distracting from the subject?