Night and Day Long Exposures

We always like when we see a picture with clouds motion in the sky and the blur effect due to long exposure times. This gives a surrealistic touch to the images. But the question for common people is how a photographer gets this effect.

The approach depends on the time hour, if it is near night or if we are in the midday or not near to dawn or after twilight.

During the day, to increase the exposure time it is necessary to decrease ISO (but this can be only done in some professional cameras and only 1 step, from ISO 100 to ISO 50). Or another solution it is to use small apertures (around f/22). But it is usual that although the diaphragm is very close, the estimated time for the exposure was not sufficiently long. So the solution is to use what photographers call Neutral Density filters (ND).

The ND filters rise the time exposure by several stops ( a stop is the halving or doubling of the amount of light availables and means double exposure or as consequence double time for exposure). So it is usual to select one depending on the time requested or effect in the sky (if for example there is so few wind, we will need a ND with more stops). The usual filters and their stops increase are:

· ND2 (or ND0.3) : 1 stop
· ND4 (or ND0.6): 2 stops
· ND8 (or ND0.9): 3 stops
· ND400 : 8 2/3 stops
· ND1000 : 10 stops

So that means that when you use a NDx filter, x is equal to time multiplier ( that is 2 ^ stop), the time for the exposure will be the exposure reads by camera meter without filter multiply by x. It is usual to measure exposure without filter, due to 3 reasons:

– The use of ND filters produces warm or cold hues and changes your White Balance. So if you want to use the appropriate WB, you need the camera metering without filter to set it later in your RAW editor. Although, you sometimes prefer the colors created with the filter.

– As the filter is so dark ( e.g ND400, ND1000) the camera has not light to calculate an exposure time. So in Bulb mode, you manually select the time.

– Due to the same problem, the camera can’t focus automatically.

How you are seeing, for long exposures (time > 30 s), you need to set you camera as follow:

– Set Bulb Mode ( because you time is > 30 s and other modes don’t support this).
– Use low ISO to avoid noise due to long exposure.
– Use a remote control to release the shot in order to avoid camera shake.
– Pre-focus without filter or use manual focus.
– And of course, to use a tripod or put the camera in a fixed surface.

Clouds Vanishing On Arganzuela Footbridge

Clouds Vanishing On Arganzuela Footbridge :: BW

Manzanares riverside, Madrid (Spain).

Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM + Hoya ND400 @ 19 mm | f/22, 33 s, ISO 100. BW from 1 exposures on a tripod

But during the night they are more problems to get a correct exposure. Then, You don’t need the use of ND filters but you should take into account:

– As it is so dark, the camera again has problems to focus, but now you can’t usually focus automatically (or pre-focus) as during the day. So you can use Live View Mode to select manually the focus distance, with the help of a lantern e.g. or use what it is called hyperfocal distance ( in a short-hand, it is the distance to focus for the best sharpness, widest deep-of-field, DOF). The hyperfocal distance depends on your DSRL type sensor (Full-Frame or APS-C), lens focal length and aperture. You can get tables to calculate it.

– And again, due to you have so few light, you need to set manually your time exposure. But now, the solution to calculate the time is to increase ISO and/or increase aperture (decrease f-stop number) and to take the time measure with AV mode and later adapt it for the aperture and ISO that you want or need to select with the Bulb mode. So each increment in ISO ( for example ISO 100, 200, 400) means double time. And each f-stop decrement (for example f/11, f/8, f/5.6, f/4 …) does the same.

Moonlit At Juan Carlos I Park

Moonlit At Juan Carlos I Park :: HDR :: DRI

North Pond, Juan Carlos I Park, Madrid (Spain).

Canon EOS 450D | Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 DC EX HSM @ 11 mm | f8, 26s, ISO 100. HDR/DRI from 3 exposures on a stable surface @ [-2 EV .. 0 .. +2 EV ]

Now, you are thinking, this is more to calculate, I am not a mathematics … what I do to simplify this ? I am going to get you several tips:

• When I used my Canon EOS 450D (APS-C) and Sigma 10-20mm lens @ 10mm, I adapted the hyperfocal distance to a visible mark in the focus ring (usually 3 fts), so then my aperture was conditioned to f/4 or f/5.6 , I don’t remember exactly. So you can do similarly in you workflow.

• To use Photopills or a similar software with calculators for your mobile. With Photopills you have hyperfocals calculator, Exposures calculator (for ND filters) and more, but this will be a topic for another post.

Hyperfocal Distance Calculator

Exposure Calculator

Testa – Sacyr Vallehermoso Building in BW

This was the cover of my book B W H D R published in Blurb several years ago in order to try the print quality of this page. I was happy with it.

As I say in the about the book, BWHDR is Black and White High Dynamic Range. HDR is the new way for digital photographers to get a great quality in the grey tones across the canvas for black and white photography and enhance details. If you want to get control of scenes with high contrast between shadows and highlights, HDR is the response to your photography workflow.

But, as I am doing in my last posts, this is a revision of the picture. It has been re-processed, using firstly Color Efex Pro and later Silver Efex Pro for black and white. If you are wondering why so much treatment as some persons asked me for example in my Flickr page, this is due to I love to edit with Photoshop and ‘cos I control the histogram and medium tones using CEP.

You can compare the older and new one and give your opinion here if you want. In any case, the new version has reached my 1st Explore ;-).

Testa - Sacyr Vallehermoso Building #2 :: HDR :: BW (revised)

Testa – Sacyr Vallehermoso Building, Campo de las Naciones, Madrid (Spain)

Canon EOS 450D | Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 DC EX HSM + Hoya HD 77 mm CPL @ 10 mm | f9, 1/80s, ISO 100.HDR from 3 exposures @ [-2 EV .. -0 .. +2 EV ].

Apocalypse II @ Royal Palace

The Palacio Real de Madrid (Royal Palace of Madrid), also known as the Palacio de Oriente (English: The East Palace), is the official residence of the King of Spain in the city of Madrid and it is only used for State Ceremonies.

However, King Juan Carlos and the Royal Family do not reside in in it, choosing instead the more modest Palacio de la Zarzuela on the outskirts of Madrid. The palace is owned by the Spanish State and administered by the Patrimonio Nacional, a public agency of the Ministry of the Presidency.

The palace is located on Bailén Street, in the Western part of downtown Madrid, East of the Manzanares River, and is accessible from the Ópera metro station. The palace is partially open to public, except when it is being used for official business.

Apocalypse II @ Royal Palace :: HDR :: BW

Royal Palace, Madrid (Spain)

Canon EOS 450D | Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 DC EX HSM @ 10 mm | f11, 8s, ISO 100.  HDR / DRI from 3 exposures @ [-2 EV .. 0 ..+2 EV ]

Crossed Diagonals

Another composition from the day of ‘Staring At The Sea, After The Rain’ . The HDR effect details the textures of the marble on the floor. The long exposure gets more drama to the sky. And the use of a wide angle lens emphasizes the architectural shapes and the diagonal lines on the ground. This is the BW version edited with Silver Efex Pro 1.0. I will upload soon the color version.

Crossed  Diagonals :: HDR :: BW

Plaza del Mar, Marbella (Spain)

Canon EOS 450D | Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 DC EX HSM @ 10 mm | f22, 8s, ISO 100.  HDR from 3 exposures @ [-2 EV .. 0 .. +2 EV ]

Ribera Manzanares By Night

The new image of Madrid as part of the Madrid River project. New fountains and the river have been conditioned, as consequence of undergrounding the highway M-30, creating one of the big green areas of the city along the Manzanares riverside and being called the new ‘Calle 30’ – 30 Street.

The Madrid River Project – ‘Madrid Rio’ – with the burial of the M-30 implies one of the best opportunities that Madrid has had for transforming the city, permitting recovery of a space that used to be occupied by cars,which will convert to a large park joining El Pardo with the municipality of Getafe, connecting up green zones and historic gardens and recovering the use of the river. So, one of the most degraded and neglected zones of the city is going to be become one of the most beautiful and with the greatest environmental quality, integrating the centre and the south-west of Madrid by means of a new public space of 1,170,000 m2, developed by the City Council.

Ribera Manzanares by Night :: HDR :: DRI :: BW

Manzanares riverside, Madrid (Spain)

Canon EOS 450D | Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 DC EX HSM @ 20 mm | f8, 30s, ISO 100. HDR from 3 exposures @ [-2 EV .. 0 ..+2 EV]

The Framed Tower

The ‘Torre Caja Madrid’ (Caja Madrid Tower) is the highest building in Spain.The skyscraper is located at the Cuatro Torres Business Area in Madrid and has a height of 250 m (820 ft) and 45 floors.

The shot was taking during a session with a lot of windy and rainny transients. During one of these, to protect my gear and myself, I went to a hole near an emergency exit at the nearest building, the Eurostar Madrid Tower Hotel (Sacyr Vallehermoso Tower), and I looked up then to the ‘Caja Madrid’ skyscraper, and I saw that I had a great shot using the structure of the ‘Eurostar Madrid tower’ to frame the Caja Madrid Tower.

The Framed Tower :: HDR :: BW

Torre Caja Madrid, CTBA, Madrid (Spain)

Canon EOS 450D | Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 DC EX HSM @ 10 mm | f11, 1/50s, ISO 100. HDR from 3 exposures @ [-2 EV .. -0 .. +2 EV ].