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Alley Cat's tips to great photography

Alison Watkins
Water that is in motion is amazing to photograph. Water has two options to photograph, really fast or really slow. By slowing down your shutter speed the water will have the silky effect. For this photo the shutter speed was set to 0.4 seconds.
Alison Watkins
ABOVE: I used a tripod because of two things: the sun had set and it was very dark, and I wanted to get the cars moving. Since the cars are moving 60 MPH, their lights are drawn out. For this photo the shutter speed was set to 4 seconds.
Follow this column for photography techniques and advice from Alison Watkins.

Chapter 8: Long Exposure

The goal of setting your camera yourself is to get the best exposed shot as possible with the light available. The camera sensor takes in light that the camera is set to receive. Exposure is how the photo looks: is it too bright, is it too dark, or is it too bland? Over exposed would be too bright and under exposed would be, you guessed it, too dark. When I say bland I mean is everything blending into each other, if so it just needs a little editing.

The term “long exposure” refers to how long the shutter is open for the exposure to be what you desire. Mostly used for dark situations, but there are some artistic uses as well. Some common uses for long exposure techniques are extremely dark situations, capturing movement, and different forms of water like: rivers, waterfalls, and waves.

Leaving the shutters open for a long period of time requires a tripod, for the most part. As a good rule of thumb, if the shutter speed is slower than the focal length, then it’s a good idea to whip out the ol’tripod. For example, If the lens is 200mm, then the shutter speed should be 1/200 or faster. If the lens is 80-200mm and you have it zoomed to, say, 100mm, then the shutter speed should be 1/100 or faster.

The sensor captures the light; if something is moving in the frame, it will be blurred in the end product. Depending on how dark the situation is, the shutter may be open for seconds at a time.

By having the sensor picking up as much light as possible in 30 or so seconds with a low ISO and an F-stop that is dependent on what you desire to be in focus, you can achieve a long exposure shot.

Next week I’ll be covering the element of light. Although light is not a composition and design element, there is quality of light. Photography is all about light, or even lack of light.

Check back at the same Alley Cat time, same Alley Cat channel!


Alley Cat's
Photo Tips


Start shooting
Sunrises and Sunsets
Black and White
Long Exposure
Shoot in RAW
Back Button Focusing
The Challenges of      
      Sports Photography
Studio Photography
FX and DX
Street Photography
Painting with Light
Bokeh vs. Blurry
Tripods and Mounts
File Naming and

-Printing and Resolution

-Paid Gigs
-Gadgets and Gizmos
-Film Photography


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