Saturday, April 14, 2012

Long Exposures at Oceanside Pier

When I was down in Southern California back in March one of the objects of my attention was the Oceanside Pier. Not only because there's a Ruby's at the end of it, but because we don't have piers like this back home. I don't live near the ocean, and although I'm right on Lake Ontario I haven't found a scene like this, yet.

I knew when I was heading down that I wanted to try some long exposures. I have the Singh-Ray Vari-ND (neutral density) filter which offers anywhere between 2 to 8 stops of density; long exposures is what this filter was made for. Once I got to the pier I found a spot to set up and began working out a composition. I like to keep my compositions simple so I landed on the one you see in the image above. I took a number of exposures, including some bracketed sets for an HDR version which I'll share in another post. I was lucky to have had some clouds, which always works nicely with long exposures. The image above was shot at f22 with a shutter speed of 85 seconds.

After shooting the image above I wanted to shoot directly underneath the pier for a completely different perspective. However, the tide was up and the rocks under the pier were washed over and there wasn't really a safe way for me to set up, so I had to pack it in and come back another time. I made it back a couple of days later and this time I was able to get beneath the pier to set up to shoot the image below. Same idea here, using the Singh-Ray Vari-ND and my camera in manual mode, I set my aperture at f22 for maximum depth of field and held on for a 41 second exposure.

If you haven't done a long exposure before you need a few key pieces of equipment: camera that has a "bulb" option on the shutter speed (all dslr will have this); a tripod is a must, with the shutter open for that amount of time any amount of shake will blur the shot; a neutral density filter, cuts the light entering the lens allowing you to keep the shutter open for longer; and finally a remote cable release to trigger the shutter without shaking the camera. All of these things together will help with the technical aspects of making the shot, but you also need a good scene.

Both images here were initially processed in Lightroom and the black & white conversion was done using Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro 2.

Cheers! DC

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