Working with Long Exposures

Bandon Beach, Oregon

Part of what intrigues me with Black and White long exposure photography is the ability to really work with tones to create different moods.  I shot this image underexposed to present a deep calm mood.  In post-processing a dodged the sky slightly around the center sea stack and burned the corners of the frame slightly.

When an Image Presents Itself

“Sunset on Bandon Beach, Oregon”

When an unique opportunity presents itself to me, I try to drop whatever I am focused on and create an image from that special gift.  This evening, I was practicing Black and White, long exposure photography.  I was struggling with the waning light.  As the sun dropped below the horizon, this wonderful gift appeared before my eyes.  I immediately pulled off my 15-stop neutral density filter, refocused, reset my exposure and was able to capture and create this special moment. This wonderful light lasted for just a few seconds.

Lesson Learned:  Always be ready to immediately step back and take advantage of the wonderful gifts that are presented to me

In the Mist

“The Face in the Mist”

On one of our workshop days we went down to Bandon beach early in the morning.  The fog covered many of the sea stacks.  Gradually the fog lifted and I was able to get this exposure.  My intent was to create a mood of a misty morning filled with gentle soft light, an awakening of the Indian maiden in the sea.

Survival

“Struggling for Life”

These two trees struggling for life caught my attention while I was doing some long exposure photography.  My interest quickly focused on them.  I walked around to get the best perspective I could find.  I focused on keeping the angle of the trees leaning to the center, maintaining a separation between the small sea stack and the cliff, and eliminating some distracting rocks and dirt on the right edge.  I blended two images together to achieve a tonal range between the sky and the cliff.  I did a little dodging on the tree trunks and a little burning in the sky to get the contrast I was looking for.

I am getting better at taking my time to look around before becoming engrossed in shooting.

 

Another Set of Tools

Cape Perpetua – Central Oregon Coast

I just finished a workshop on the Oregon Coast with John Barclay and Cole Thompson.  I walked away with a new set of tools: Long exposure photography and B&W processing.  But what was more important, I reconfirmed why I photograph.  I do it for myself.  I do not do it for others.  If someone happens to like an image I create, I will give it to them as a gift.  That satisfies me.

I feel the same way about my website posts.  I do it for myself.  I record some of my thoughts at the time.  If someone is interested in what I do, I share the site with them.  I do not expect comments.

The above image was one of the last ones I took before heading back home.  I made a side trip to Cape Perpetua and Thor’s Well.  I finished taking images on the shore and packed up my gear.  Right before I got to the top of the hill, I Iooked up and saw fog coming in.  I stopped in my tracks and got my camera back out.  This was the first  long exposure I took.  The wind picked up quickly and the fog started coming in rapidly.  Below is my next image.  How quickly things change!  These images were taken 3 minutes apart, both with 2 minute exposures.

Gazing Into the Sky

Face Rock – Bandon, Oregon

I looked and looked and looked.  I could not see the face that this rock was named after.  It was a dark, cloudy morning.  The sun broke through for a moment and lit up the side of the rock.  There was the face.

Can you see it.  Hint, it is looking up at the right corner of the image.

More Practice

Second Beach – La Push, WA

This image is another perspective from my long exposure practice exercise.  This time the focus was to highlight the sky and the smooth tide.  I used dodging and burning in the sky, dodging on the sea stack and water.  I am looking forward to an upcoming workshop on the Oregon Coast with John Barclay and Cole Thompson.  It should be enlightening.

Practice & Experiment

Second Beach, La Push, WA

I took a special trip to the Washington Coast to experiment and practice long exposure photography. My first day of practice resulted in a disappointing set of images with many, many, pure white and pure black frames.  I am thankful tor digital photography!  I knew the steps I needed to take.  However, my excitement took over and I made multiple mistakes.  Toward the end I started to engrain the process into my sequence of shooting.  The next morning, I slowed down and did much better.  This image is from that morning.  I have a lot more of experimenting and practicing to do.

 

In the Rainforest

Hanging Moss – Hoh River Rainforest

It was mid morning on a bright sunny, hot, dry day.  The summer has been one of the driest in history.  It was not a typical rainforest day.  It was still a beautiful exhibition of nature.  I spent a lot of time looking around to find an area that had filtered light without glaring bright spots.  This is one that I found.

I processed the image to try to capture the feeling I had:  filtered rays of sunshine highlighting background trees, interesting moss shapes in the shadows speckled with sunlight, a soft feeling of the soft moss.

I must go back after a good drenching rain.