Long exposure is the name used in photography when the shutter is open for a given period. This can be a quarter of a second or longer. Photographers use long exposure to show movement, smooth out water, and many other reasons. Low light photography is a good example of long exposure. Photographing the night sky, the shutter is open for 15 or more seconds allowing enough light into the camera for the stars.
Most long exposure images by Randy Bott Photography are black and white. The ability to smooth out the clouds or water creates a minimalist look. Some photographers use it to show movement in the image, others to remove distractions. If the image will be black and white, the shutter speed is around 5 minutes. This way, there is no detail in the clouds and or water. For movement in a river or waterfall, 1/4 of a second works best. Learning this technique is fun and challenging and can show you what is possible with a camera.
1. BRIDGE TO SOMEWHERE
The fine art black and white photograph "Bridge To Somewhere" was taken in Tacoma, Washington during a cloudy day. Using a 15 stop neutral density filter, Randy was able to create a 5 minute exposure to smooth the water and create streaking clouds. This timeless image goes with any home decor.
2. KENMORE DOCK PANORAMA
During a foggy morning, Randy went to Logboom Park in Kenmore, Washington to capture this long exposure image. "Kenmore Dock Panorama" was created by using a tilt-shift lens and 3 exposures at 2 minutes each. The way the smooth water transitions to fog is what makes this image standout from others. It feels like the dock leads to an unset future of possibilities.
3. SPIRIT FALLS
The flow of water at a waterfall requires a long exposure of 1/4 second shutter. One of Randy's favorite waterfall images, "Spirit Falls" during fall color is one of the best in the Pacific Northwest. Located in the Columbia Gorge, the trail to the falls is quite steep and not for the faint of heart. The water flow in the spring is twice as much and also makes for a great image.
4. HEAVENLY STARS
This church is the only remaining building from the town of Sherman in Eastern Washington. "Heavenly Stars" was created with a 2 minute exposure for the foreground including church and many 15 second exposures for the stars. Combining multiple long exposure images is the best way to create night sky images. Astro photography is a skill that takes time to learn but it's a fun adventure.
5. MONUMENT VALLEY STORM
Capturing this dark and moody scene of "Monument Valley Storm" was a life goal of Randy's. Having viewed so many images from this location, he knew a long exposure black and white image would be different from the others. Setting up his camera for a 5 minute exposure was tough because the rain and wind were on the way. Luckily, he captured the image right before the weather hit.
6. FALL COLOR LIGHT RAY
During a fall color road trip to Tumwater Canyon, Randy saw this scene of the Wenatchee river and a light ray in the background. A shutter speed of 1 second is how he captured movement in the water. Within 5 minutes, the light was gone but he acquired the shot he wanted. It only took 4 years of going to the same location during the fall to get the perfect conditions. "Fall Color Light Ray" can be found in Randy's Limited Edition Landscape gallery.
7. BONES OF THE IREDALE
On a recent trip to the Oregon Coast, Randy's last stop was Fort Stevens State Park in Astoria. The"Bones Of The Iredale" is all that is left of this once great ship. The morning was cloudy and grey which is great for a black and white fine art print. Using a 10 stop neutral density filter, Randy was able to smooth out the incoming waves with a 5 minute exposure for a fine art minimalist image.
8. TAPTO LAKES MILKY WAY
How many people do you know that would backpack in 20 miles in one day just to get a Milky Way Galaxy shot? Well, Randy is one of those crazy people. Located in the North Cascades National Park, this small tarn overlooking Mount Challenger on the left and Whatcom Peak on the right was worth the effort for this image. The foreground for "Tapto Lakes Milky Way" was created with a 2 minute long exposure. The night sky was created by taking 30 images at 15 seconds and using a stacking method to remove high ISO noise. The 2 images were then combined to get the scene that was in front of Randy during the night. The tent was right behind the trees.
Long exposure photography is used for many reasons. Although you can find countless videos and tutorials about the best settings, the reality is there is no such thing. Every scene requires a different setting to capture the image. Learning this technique has allowed Randy to make some fascinating long exposure images. Whether they're black and white, flowing water, or the night sky, Randy's fine art images will look amazing with any home decor or gallery.