painting and photographic works

Posts tagged “long exposure

Six Years Later

This morning, I was looking through my old photos, curious as to what I might have been looking at, taking photos of, on this day in past years. As it turns out I hadn’t been very active on January Thirteenths, but I did find some from 2012. In fact, I quite liked what I was doing that year – it was a bit of a treasure chest of abstract images!

I took a number of those photos, tweaked and cropped them to come up with these final images (which I like and hope you will too):








Abstractions of the February Landscape

Color on the Trunk

This is another series of abstracted photographs. As I have shared previously, the technique I use is to employ a neutral density filter that allow me to use shutter speed in the 2 to 4 second range. During this long exposure I will move the camera – normally in a direction parallel to the lines I wan to emphasize. In the previous and next image I would have followed the line of the vertical trunk. Generally I don’t want too great a range of movement and might go back and forth over a short displacement during the exposure.

Morning Light

“Morning Light” was the result of a bit of a happy accident. I neglected to stop down my neutral density filter sufficiently to get a “proper” exposure. The image was over-exposed but still one I could work with in post-processing. I liked the over blown background exposure that resulted.

Abstract Landscape 381-104

Yellow at the Base

The yellow at the base of the tree (that you may be able to make out in the previous image was from the lichen that I typically find on the trees around the Edmonton region. Especially in the winter this color seems intense. However, straight out of the camera, these long exposure images typically do not have much color, so I usually will bump up the color saturation significantly to get an image that feels to me like what I was actually seeing/feeling.

The Edge of a Hill


It’s All in the Wrist

I frequently have been achieving “painterly”, abstract effects on my photos through the use of intentional camera motion. By using a neutral density filter I am able to shoot at a  2 to 4 second shutter speed which allows me plenty of time to move the camera about, effectively painting with the available light upon my camera sensor. In general the effect is to soften edges and blur the image  but depending on the type of motion, different results can be achieved.

Here was the basic scene  (i.e regular shutter speed, no motion) that I used for the following demonstration:

Woods in Winter (normal exposure)

In this next image of the same scene I used a 4-second exposure and moved the camera vertically – more like tipping it forward and back using my wrists. This type of motion tends to preserve the vertical elements of the picture, such as tree trunks.

Woods in Winter (Abstraction I)

In this second image (again a 4 second exposure) I moved the camera rapidly in a horizontal fashion throughout the exposure. The effect is to soften, to blur those vertical edges. If there were a strong horizontal element it would of course have been reinforced. I like this motion for a landscape with a definite horizon line.

Woods in Winter (Abstraction II)

In this final variation I incorporated both vertical and horizontal motion – rapidly moving the camera back and forth horizontally for a couple of seconds, then moving it up and down for the last two seconds. The edges are soft and I like the grid like texture that results

Woods in Winter (Abstraction III)

Another of my standard “tricks”/requirements with these long exposures with camera motion is to increase the contrast and color saturation during post processing. Here, for example is tha last image straight out of the camera:

Woods in Winter (Abstraction III - un processed)

First Snow – Abstracted Landscape Photos

Today (2011 November 12) Edmonton had its first (and unusually late) snow of the season. While there are many thing about the snow I am not a fan of, I have been looking forward to applying  the camera-motion abstraction technique that I’ve been playing with in recent months, to the snowy landscape. Here are some of my first results:

Abstract Landscape 326-379

Abstract Landscape 325-383

Abstract Landscape 326-390

Abstract Landscape 326-397

Abstract Landscape 326-410

As with my previous photos in this style, the original intent was to give me reference images for paintings. However, so far I have not been able to create a painting that I like as much as or better than the photo (which is okay – for now).

My basic technique in this style is to use a neutral density filter to allow me to get a 2 second exposure. During the exposure I move/shake/vibrate the camera around vigorously. Post processing usually is required to increase contrast and color saturation.

Mystery in the Darkness – 5 Abstract Autumn Photos

As the days of autumn get shorter and more of my waking time is spent in dim light my photography has changed.  Perhaps not surprisingly but it s also getting darker – not just physically but also subject wise. I’m finding  my favorite images have a mysterious, dreamlike to them quality. One is not sure what one is looking at and that can lead to a feeling of cautiousness, apprehension.

Abstract 218-423

Abstract Landscape 319-519

Abstract 321-787

Stairs to Where?

Tunnel Entrance

So how have I created the dark, ominous feeling in these photos?  By keeping the edges soft the viewer is not able to focus in what is seeing and that gets the mind racing, bringing the viewers imagination into play. I frequently achieve those soft edges by using a long exposure (like 2 seconds) and I deliberately move the camera around. I will walk into the scene during the exposure and frequently also be shaking the camera as I do so. I also let the darks dominate in the image, sometimes with strategic highlights and increased contrasts and sometimes with an overall low contrast. Finally I find that black and white can really add to the mystery but as you can see I have also let a dark but saturated blue dominate in this last image, but still managed to convey that mystery that I was looking for.

What to you think makes these images work (in mysterious ways). Do you have any techniques or approaches for achieving similar moods?

Just a Couple of Seconds

The title of this post is “A Couple of Seconds”, as in two-second exposures. For all of the images that follow, I kept the shutter open for a full  two seconds. I had recently been experimenting with “long” exposure of 1/4 to 1/2 of a second, during which I panned the camera. I was growing bored with that technique and once I acquired a variable neutral density filter for my wide angle lens I was able to slow down the exposure considerably more!

I was obviously not after nice, sharp images so these photos are also all handheld. Not only was I not worried about keeping the camera steady, I in fact moved the camera in a variety of ways during the exposure! One technique that I discovered worked quite well  was to walk during the exposure. I believe that is what I did for this photo:


Abstract Landscape 305-309

No digital filter were used on that last and the next image. All I did was increase the contrast, exposure and color saturation a bit.

Abstract Landscape 305-308

On this next one, I incorporate a twist of the zoom lens during the exposure:

Abstract 305-316

This next one was a horizontal pan of the camera. With a 2-second exposure one must be careful not to move the camera to fast!

Beside the River (305-353)

This next one was produced by a rotational movement during the exposure

Abstract Landscape 305-372

Next a skyline sunset with a diagonal camera movement (still with the 2-second exposure)

Abstract 305-386

A final experiment, where I took the long exposure photo and applied a color infrared film filter from Color Efex 2.0, to further abstract the image.

Abstract Landscape 305-376

Friday Night Frights

Something a little different today. I have continued with my experiment from yesterday – of using a very slow (1 second) shutter speed and “painting” with light.

What I found on my camera  tonight were a number of images that  I find a little bit disturbing – unsettling is perhaps a better word. Some  are colorful, playful and interesting but somehow they seem like something out of a bad dream – Welcome to my nightmare…

Twilight Cascade

Take the Bridge

The Tangle in the Night

Light Storm

Bad Dream

How do these images make you feel? What quality (or lack thereof) do you think accounts for the feeling?