This week’s photo challenge covers the topic of ‘Dreaming’ – focusing on long exposures (2 to 15 seconds) where “ISO and shutter speed align perfectly in an effort to give our shots an otherworldly sense of escapism.”
For the longest time I was seeing image after image of waterfalls where the motion was slowed down so much the water looked smooth. I’m still not a fan. I prefer seeing and shooting the speed and power of the rush.
That said, over the years I have played with exposure settings discovering many applications for slow exposures pleasing to my own eye.
Long exposure can help turn a ‘plain’ sunset into a richly saturated image. Where light is scarce, colour suddenly pops. The two Maui sunsets below weren’t much to look at from a spectacular sky perspective, but the copper in the rocks really popped and the waves became ethereal with a 4-second exposure. The afterglow provided rich and inviting blues with 5-seconds. (Yes, that was the same night, same sunset – one looking south and one looking north.)
Without long exposures capturing the Northern Lights would be impossible. The next two years are expected to be the most active years for solar storms and are anticipated to generate spectacular aurora displays. I took an experimental run in February not wanting to miss out on the phenomena. Softly visible to the naked eye, 10-30 second exposures made the colours explode. Only my horse-mad daughter could find a horse in the middle of pitch dark countryside! A 5-8 second burst of light from a flashlight highlights details at ground level – including the ‘No Shooting’ sign which I couldn’t resist!
Last, but not least, fireworks… I’ve always been a sucker for the magical exploding light, and this year am thrilled to be part of the photographic team capturing the fireworks and event displays at Globalfest in August. These images were captured this weekend at Canada Olympic Park as part of the Calgary Stampede’s ‘Light Up the City’ celebration in honour of the Stampede’s 100-year anniversary. Five separate venues provided simultaneous displays. If you stood at the right point in the city, you could see 2 or 3 in the distance.