Long Exposures

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Since there have been a few posts lately regarding long exposures, I'm wondering what exactly is the artistic advantage of using long exposures lasting over fifteen minutes or more, especially with color transparencies?

On a practical issue, what kind of adjustments should be used with a film like Velvia for exposures in terms of filtration and exposure with an exposure of fifteen minutes or so? I've used exposures of up to three minutes with Velvia using no filtration and only very modest amounts of exposure increase with my 35mm equipment. So far, I have used my camera's suggested meter readings and extrapolated the exposure times by metering with a wide open aperature, and it has worked well despite Fuji's recommendations of more drastically increased exposure times. However, I have only used such long exposures due to available conditions, not for any artistic reasons. Similarly, I would like to hear from photographers actually use such long exposure times, regardless of what Fuji's tech specs say. My speculation is that with such long exposures using color transparencies it is the color shift that is desired, despite what some might say regarding 'corrective' filtration, though this is speculation on my part. Or perhaps it is the shifting light position, which would only be an issue during the edge of sundown/twilight or sunrise.

What does such long exposures do for landscapes with foliage lightly moving in a slight breeze? Is a completely windless situation required, or does the movement 'average out' and record a sharp image of the 'natural' position of foliage one would see without a slight breeze?

I've never really experimented with long exposures on my 35mm equipment because of battery drain, but I'm interested if there is any advantage to doing so with my 4 x 5 equipment.

-- Andy (akkup@mindspring.com), July 23, 2000


Andy "...what exactly is the artistic advantage of using long exposures..." Well there is none it just a way of interpreting what you 'see' or feel towards your subject matter and as a photographer/artist you should use whatever means possible to relay your 'message' to others. I photograph the coast of Kent (S.E.England) a fair bit and use time exposures ranging from a few seconds to about 30min. I like the misty, etherial quality that time exposures have on water especially when you include something static in the picture, rocks, groynes, piers whatever. The duel qualities of staic and flowing just apeal to me. One photorapher who uses this technique to superb effect is Brad Cole you can view samples of his work at www.amoeba.com (just click on Robert Rich at the index and from there you should be able to view Brad Cole's superb images) signed copies of his book "The Last Dream" are available from this site. Regards,

-- Trevor Crone (tcrone@gm.dreamcast.com), July 23, 2000.

Also look at works by David Fokos, featured in the May/June issue of View Camera magazine.

As far as landscapes go, that depends on what kinds of textures you are after. Moving foliage won't be sharp, but it might be interesting.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), July 23, 2000.

Andy, Another great advantage to long exposures is the removal of unwanted, pesky moving objects like... people! 2 weeks ago I was shooting in the Hocking Hills region of Ohio. I metered off of the shadowed part of what is reputed to be the largest cave of its type. Less of a cave and more of a depression. Anyway, after fuguring reciprocity failure for the film I came up with 8 minutes at f/64. Worked out brilliantly because at least 100 people trudged right through the middle of the picture and not a one showed up in the negative. As to your comments on shooting long exposures on 35mm using Velvia, I noticed that in 35mm, reciprocity failure was not nearly the problem it is in large format. I was wondering if that might have something to do with the concentration of light. I could be way off base here, wouldn't be the first time.

-- David N. VanMeter (vanmet@ibm.net), July 24, 2000.

David, F11 is F11 reguardless of format. F ratios takes the guesswork out of it.

-- Ron Shaw (shaw9@llnl.gov), July 24, 2000.

The Fuji pocket film guide lists all the filters and reciprocity for Velvia for long exposoures. It is quite helpful.

-- Bill Glickman (bglick@pclv.com), August 06, 2000.

If you are shooting Velvia with long exposures you may find it goes green on you. Astia may be a better choice for color neutrality and much less color shift. It is an excellent film, along with Ektachrome EPN, for very long exposures and star trail photography. As for the artistic aspects, that is entirely your own impression as you work with the film and time factor.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), August 06, 2000.

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