Following a few hours of after-sunset photography atop Buda Castle Hill and Gellért Hill in Budapest, Hungary, we set up tripods at the Pest end of Chain Bridge to capture light trails. There is an island between the inbound and outbound lanes of traffic that is safe for pedestrians. To create the trails in the photo, a series of eight 30 second exposures was stacked in Photoshop layers, aligned, and merged into a single image using the lighten blending mode.
Light Trails at Chain Bridge
An interesting phenomenon that occurs when you have a good spot is that it attracts other photographers. After a few minutes here, several other people with cameras popped up. They weren’t using tripods so they can’t have been taking this shot.
We stayed in a treehouse near Habarana, Sri Lanka. Since the treehouse had no walls, insects were free to enter. One night after going to bed, we noticed blinking and realized that fireflies were circling above us. We got up, attached the camera to a tabletop tripod, and did a few test shots at ISO 6400 to determine exposure settings (one second at ISO 6400 is equivalent to one minute at ISO 100). Based on the test shots, we used an intervalometer to take a sequential series of two-minute images. A sequence of seven of these images were merged using the Lighten blending mode in Photoshop to make the equivalent of a 14-minute exposure. The following photo is the result.
Fireflies in a Treehouse
The images were captured on February 3, 2018. Specs for each of the seven images are:
Canon 100D, ISO 100, f/2.8, 120 sec, 17 mm.
As a final note, the image is not as sharp as I would like it to be. I wasn’t planning to take this shot and I was afraid that using any light would drive the fireflies away. The next evening, I set the camera up before dark and was ready. The result was a series of extremely sharp — but firefly free — images of the ceiling.
In this photo of teens and children using a water slide, we wanted to be able to show movement of some people while freezing the movement of others. The people near the top of the line have something to focus on – the person preparing to enter the slide – and are almost motionless, while the more recent arrivals to the line are trying to watch from the side before establishing their places in line. With a very short exposure time, all of them would be frozen in place, while with a very long exposure time, they would all be invisible. In earlier shots at 13 seconds and f/16, they were all beginning to disappear and be unrecognizable as persons. We wanted at least f/8 for the depth of field, so opening up the aperture to get a faster shutter speed wasn’t an option (and it could have eliminated the motion blur). This final shot uses an f/8 aperture and a long 3.2 second exposure. In order to have this longer exposure time in bright daylight, a tripod and a 6-stop neutral-density filter were used.
This photo of families enjoying a swimming pool illustrates the transient nature of fun in the sun. Not quite Memorial Day, and not quite Summer, the pool is well-appreciated on this day. The long exposure image captures the motion, or lack of motion, of swimmers as well as those poolside.
The Brevity of Buoyancy
This photo was taken on May 29, 2017. A 6-stop neutral density filter was used, giving an effective aperture value of f/45. Specs are:
I wanted to capture the collisions between pool balls during a game. A friend, who is a pool fanatic, invited me to photograph a game at his home between himself and friends. I got several shots I liked, but this is my favorite. It shows the immediate effect of the collision between the cue ball and the racked balls during the break at the start of a game.
This photo was taken with a tripod-mounted camera from an overhead pedestrian bridge in Chiang Mai, Thailand, capturing traffic as it flowed past a night market.
In this photo, traffic is merging from two directions, all headed to the lower left of the image. The headlights of buses, cars, and tuk-tuks are the yellow and white streams. The three green streams of light were created by three lights on the top of one bus. The red streams are tail lights on the rear sides of tuk-tuks. The magenta and blue lights are decorative lights on the tops and sides of vehicles.
Since this is a long-exposure image, people who remain in the same spot for a few seconds can be seen as ghostly images. At the middle right, just beyond the pylons, is a pedestrian who lingered before crossing the street. Some shoppers can be seen across the street, near the parked tuk-tuk. The many other pedestrians are invisible, since they did not stand still long enough to be captured in this image.
But you have no doubt noticed the very solid persons beneath the lightpost at the middle left of the image. These are motionless because they are (headless) mannequins.