Photo Commentary #12: Long-Exposure Photography

Blurred Waterfalls

Photo Commentary #12: Long-Exposure Photography

Photo Commentary #12: Long-Exposure Photography 1024 618 varunvisuals
Taken by photographer Johannes Plenio, this image illustrates the utilization of long exposure photography to capture "blurred" trails of water that we typically see in waterfalls
Taken by photographer Johannes Plenio, this image illustrates the utilization of long exposure photography to capture “blurred” trails of water that we typically see in waterfalls

During my last post, I began to discuss the fantasy-like appearance of waterfalls in certain visuals. This image demonstrates a similar appearance.

So how are these shots achieved? Long-exposure photography. Exposure is a term that refers to the amount of light reaching a camera’s sensor. As you had learned in my astrophotography post, this can be adjusted through changes in ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. “Long” simply acknowledges the extended duration with which light reaches the sensor.

With these facts in mind, it becomes easy to comprehend how photographers can create such an image without having to travel to Narnia. By either reducing the shutter speed or widening the aperture of the lens, not only is more light able to reach the sensor, but the more time movement can be detected.

Each time light bounces off the subject and into the lens, the subject will have moved ever so slightly. This process repeats itself to the point where we have given it a casual term – blur. When you take a photo of your son at a track meet, it’s easy to see blurring in the image because of the quick movement. While it’s not ideal in that scenario, it can be utilized properly in others, such as when shooting waterfalls.

Light strikes each drop of water as it falls, and what you end up seeing is quite literally “blurred water”. However one thing that must be noted is the ISO – if you would like a longer exposure or more “blurring”, the ISO must be reduced. Otherwise, the image could be “blown out” – a way of describing a situation when TOO MUCH light enters the lens. The result is super bright, almost white like, areas in the photo with minimal details visible. The bright portions of a photo (also known as “highlights”) are most susceptible to this effect.

One thing is certain – it’s hard to explain photo flaws when looking at an image as perfect as this! Love the work Johannes!

Oh and here’s something to think about: if the water is blurry in this photo, why are the background elements in the photos (like the trees and grass) sharp? Surely they must have been moving a little bit so why aren’t they blurry as well? More on this in the next post 

Photographer: Johannes Plenio

http://www.coolfreepix.com/
https://www.instagram.com/jplenio/
https://unsplash.com/@jplenio
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