Long exposures in daylight

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I was looking at a beautiful photograph by John Sexton: A group of rocks in the foreground and the sea stretching to the horizon. The tech. details said that it was taken with a yellow filter a no. 12 yellow filter on T-Max 100, two minutes at f/45. Given that T-Max has very good reciprocity characteristics, I find it difficult to believe that the exposure was that long. a) Am I making a mistake here? or b) Does anyone know if he uses a heavy n/d filter, and if so why? I noticed in View Camera magazine that another photographer used very long exposure in cloudy daylight to remove all transitory movement in the subject - only the permanent features registered on the film. His exposures were also in the minutes. Is the way to do these type of pictures to use a n/d filter? I would be grateful to hear experiences of land/seascapes with long exposure times. Yaakov Asher Sinclair

-- Yaakov Asher Sinclair (sinclair@actcom.co.il), July 19, 2000


I wonder whether you are referring to "Rock Shoreline, Dusk, Pemaquid Point, Maine," (which happens to be the photo for June on the 2000 Sexton calendar). Anyway, Sexton likes to photograph before sunrise and after sunset when exposure times can get quite long. If you look through the technical information at the back of his books (Quite Light and Listen to the Trees) you will see many long exposures.

-- Chris Patti (cmpatti@aol.com), July 19, 2000.

Yes, John likes what many refer to as available darkness. The sun was probably below the horizon. The photo mentioned above, I have seen this negative. All of the rocks are originally the same density. He used a selenium intensification technique to make three of the rocks stand out. I had never tried a long exposure until I met John in 1989, now I use long exposures whenever necessary. I have made exposures that are several hours long.

-- Jeff White (zonie@computer-concepts.com), July 19, 2000.

If we are all talking about the same image, and I beleive we are, he took it late in the day (quiet light I beleive is the term hence the name of the book and it is definatley that)and even used his dark slide to cover the front lens element from reflections and glare as vehicles passed by with thier lights on.

That being said, it really is the time of day and not neutral density that gives the images the quality and look you are seeing. I beleive that the light being from such a broad source, the length of the exposure, the processing necessary to accomidate reciprocity, the balance between high and low values and the Hand of God on the deserving photographer all play heavily into this "look" (with heavy emphasis on the Hand of God!).

The more I used quiet light the more I came to love it. It does take some scouting to find what you want to shoot because you are limited on time and you can save some on film because one or two images a night, or morning is about all you are going to get. I like to refer to these exposures as f64 @ Tuesday, especially if it is Thursday when you are making your exposure (or maybe you had to be there).

-- Marv (mthompsonn@home.com), July 19, 2000.

I too am curious about this as I've just about finished with Westons daybooks and his expousure times all seem really long? (I realize the materials available to him were very different and may not apply to todays materials) but I can'nt argue with the results.

-- bill zelinski (willy226@yahoo.com), July 19, 2000.

Yaakov I'm a big fan of time exposures in everyway what ever the lighting conditions. I can easily obtain exposures of 6 min. in full sun by using a B+W ND filter. The one I use mostly is the B+W/106 ND 1,8 exposure factor 64x.(+6 stops). I also have their 110/ND 3,0 exposure factor 1000x (about +10 stops). However they also produce (or did produce) the 113/ND 4,0 exposure factor 10,000x but get this their 120 ND 6,0 with an exposre factor of 1,000,000x!!! I think that's f22 at a fortnight. These filters were designed for blast furnace and solar photography. If you enjoy time exposure of landscape material please see the work of Brad Cole, I recormend his book "The Last Dream" available from www.amoeba.com where there are samples of his work. Best of luck, Trevor.

-- Trevor Crone (tcrone@gm.dreamcast.com), July 20, 2000.

Trevor, I was thinking about the Hoya ND400 which is a 9-stop ND filter.

Which of the ND filters you mentioned is a "favorite"? I would imagine that all are very expensive, so I'm only interested in one. I was thinking about getting it in Series IX which will fit 66mm and larger lens threads.

I'm interested in making long exposures in full daylight sufficient to remove moving people from scenes that would otherwise be chock full of people.

-- Bruce Gavin (doc@compudox.com), July 20, 2000.

If you're not going to use Quickloads or Readyloads, you probably want to use double side tape on your film to prevent it from moving during exposure. I've had several long exposure images ruined that way.

-- Q.-Tuan Luong (luong@ai.sri.com), July 21, 2000.

Concerning film movement during exposure, LF film will "pop" from its normal position usually in the first minute or so after the darkslide has been pulled. It has been explained to me as a reaction to the change of environment from the film holder to the inside of the camera. When making long exposures, I always wait 2-3 minutes after pulling the darkslide before beginning the exposure. In 4x5 this seems to be enough, larger formats may need the double sided tape.

-- Jeff White (zonie@computer-concepts.com), July 21, 2000.

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