Unless you have ventured out and purchased a remote for your shiny new SLR you probably don’t do much past 30 seconds. Don’t get me wrong I have a fond place in my heart for the (30″/f3.5 @ ISO 400) it is a great for getting started. But it is only my test exposure to see what kind of light I am working with. I do this because light meters can lie to you in the dark. It doesn’t understand long exposures. I will fire off a 30″ at f3.5 even if I am sure that it is way too dark, Example “New Moon.” I shoot a location first at (30″/f3.5-4) that is a great way to see what the light does to the landscape “over time”. There may be hidden pockets of light or reflective surfaces that wern’t viewable to the naked eye. But there is other life over 30 seconds. I was one of the lucky Photographers that got to learn how this works on the fly. I was in Anza Borego and found that in the desert with no moon there is almost no light for my foreground. So I was forced to move to the “Bulb” option. I didn’t know what to expect and I was not confident that my Nikon CCD could take it. Well it did, and now I am an addict. Go out and play, have a great time pushing your camera to it’s limits. My camera’s limit seems to be 30 min, I was very sad to find this out while planning a 45 min shot. Make use of your in camera noise reduction as well as your software. I know there are many photographers out there that say don’t use the in camera noise reduction and you should rely on noise Ninja or Photoshop. The problem that I have found with that is many newbies don’t understand how to use software based noise reduction. With Nikon and Canon both continuing to improve the in camera programing I would say trust Nikon and Canon with knowing how to clean up thier own files.
WARNING: 20 min exposure = 15 min noise reduction. Bring your patience!
This was my very first 15 min exposure.
15 min / 3.5 @ ISO 800
There are a couple different options that you have and if you can get your hands on the wireless remote! it is $15 bucks and worth every penny.
Go wireless, it cuts down wind resistance and camera shake. (Just don’t forget wich pocket you put it in)
“The Milky Way”
Pushing 20 min
This is a recent long exposure shot that I made, this is where I realized that my camera maxed out at 30 min exposures. My film cameras don’t have a limit so when I chose to go to one hour or so I will bring the Rollei or Nikon F100.
30 min f 40 ISO 100
Happy shooting and remember, to in addition to your camera bring a stopwatch tripod and your remote.! Email me a link to your long exposure shots!