View Full Version : Evening long exposure questions

23-Sep-2014, 22:50
Hey all, long time lurker first time poster.

I've been shooting a beach project that necessitates some night-time long exposures.

Tech details for shot are: Provia 100, 10:00pm, new moon, f8 @ 45 mins. Focus set to infinity. No condensation on lens. Significant light pollution on horizon (which I want for shot).

My current questions and issues are:

- Lack of exposure or illumination in the foreground or beach portion of my shot. I could use a flashlight to "paint" in the foreground or take an exposure post sunset for detail and combine in post (but I'd rather not - to save on film). Any suggestions for a good light to use and exposure times for it? Any other ideas?

- If I stop down to f22 to get better focus on the horizon will that increase my exposure time exponentially?

Attached is the image - a quick&dirty iphone shot of my film on the lightbox. The highlights aren't blown out on the film for the light pollution on the horizon, just a few lights which is to be expected.

Thanks again and I appreciate any suggestions!

24-Sep-2014, 10:14
For that type of scene, I personally wouldnt use a flashlight to light paint.. I dont care for the way it shows in the image with an "unnatural" look on the foreground. You would be front lighting subject matter that is naturally a backlit scene.
I would probably start the exposure a little earlier to get a touch of ambient light to help with the foreground. You don't want it to be too light because the sky will be too bright & wash out your star trails.

What focal length lens are you using?

Yes, using F22 vs F8 will increase your exposure time significantly. You might want to consider using Ektar or try a shot with each.

24-Sep-2014, 11:38
Thanks and I agree about the lighting - using ambient will look much better. I'm using a pretty new rodenstock 150mm lens. How long after the blue period after sunset should I wait before exposing? Or should I expose for the ambient during the blue period?

Here's another question: if I focus on the foreground and expose at f8 I'm pretty sure I'll get a soft horizon but will the star trails also be soft? I could always pull focus if I do two exposures on one piece of film.

24-Sep-2014, 11:57
How about a heavy graduated filter knocking out the sky for an exposure of the foreground taken right before sunset (just enough exposure to give some detail to the foreground), then after sunset remove the filter and make your 'normal' exposure.

Color balance will be an issue with the use of artificial light. I suppose there will be a color shift between the two exposures above, but they might blend nicely.

24-Sep-2014, 14:22
I was thinking that too - I have a 3 stop hard nd grad and perhaps after sunset it'll work to block the sky. I guess I'll do some more tests.

Paul Cunningham
24-Sep-2014, 21:39
Another thought, use moonlight to illuminate your foreground. I recent did a Milky Way shot in which I shot between sunset and moon rise, to get the best possible night sky. As the half moon rose behind me (a bit unexpectedly), it nicely illuminated my foreground - an unplanned but welcome result.

(Pardon the digital photo)

25-Sep-2014, 04:43
You could also experiment with flashing the film. I use negative film and have never tried it with chromes. Try with a lightbox, and different exposures and light temperatures until you get the right one... It will help jumpstart the recording of the shadows, so could give you some detail.