Fun With Photography: Long Exposure

There are so many things I’ve always wanted to play with but haven’t had the chance. One of them is long exposure times, particularly with night scenes. The other night our youth group had a ‘light party’ and while they were outside I played inside and this was the result:

{How I took it}

  • Canon 7d
  • 50mm f/1.2
  • f/12 (higher apertures makes twinkly lights appear extra twinkly with the starburst – try it when you get your Christmas tree up!)
  • 30 second shutter
  • ISO 200

I set my camera on a pile of books and set it to self timer so when I pressed the shutter, the subtle jiggle wouldn’t affect the exposure. Then it snapped and stayed open for 30 seconds and took about 20 seconds to process before showing it to me. It’s crooked and by no means a masterpiece, but I’d recommend trying something like this yourself to help you understand how long exposures can be useful. I was really impressed with the result because the room was sooo dark!

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Elizabeth Halford

Elizabeth Halford


She blogs about photography and business with her unique plain English approach. Elizabeth has been-there-done-that with running a photography business that doesn’t profit a penny and loves teaching photographers how to get away from the starving artist model of running a creative business.
Elizabeth Halford
  • dini - Stunning!!
    love it

  • Emanuele - I like to use longer-than-normal exposures in crowded environments (parties, squares, etc.) to give a sense of ‘hustle and bustle’ and movement. 

  • Stephanie - Beautiful!  I love using long exposures but it something I just don’t do often enough.  I did use it here to get this shot of San Francisco at night, though.  It’s one of my favorites because it could almost be day time:

  • Debbie - Here’s a link to a pic of our church that I took in the spring with a long exposure.  I was attempting to capture the “blue hour”.  I loved the way the pic turned out but part of the building looks a bit crooked.

  • Robert - Superb pics.Its really awesome. Its sounds really too good.You have done a great job by sharing this post with us.I like this.Keep sharing with us in future too.

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