I want to chat about this long exposure image for a few minutes. It is pretty cool. I saw a very similar image somewhere (wish I could remember where), and thought, “Hey I want to shoot an image like that!”. I wanted to capture Winston-Salem at sunset. This image really isn’t exactly what I was after. You see, I had this idea that I want to capture this scene when the sky has a nice cloud cover. I can imagine that the clouds will light up with fire and the sky behind it will be dark blue. The sun is on my back at sunset, so I know this will happen on certain days.
This particular day, I got off work and headed to this side of town. I scouted a couple of bridges and found this one to have the best view of the buildings and traffic. I set up my tripod on top of the bridge and used a wide angle lens to pull in both the road and the city to the left. I think I had my f-stop set around 11 or 16. I experimented a bit. Due to that smaller aperture and fact that the light was fading, my camera was suggesting a long exposure of 4-6 seconds of shutter speed. That timing was perfect for catching the lights of the cars trailing down the highway. As the sun got lower the exposure time was getting longer and this particular shot was probably 10 seconds long.
Somehow, between the car and the bridge, I misplaced my camera remote. I wish I knew how I could lose things so fast… Since I had no remote now, I set my camera to fire on delay (I hit the button, the camera waits a few seconds for the shakes to stop and then fires). 95% of the images I took were trash because at the time my shutter was open, one of 2 things would happen. Either a group of cars would drive over the bridge, shaking my camera and blurring the image. Or a semi truck would go under the bridge at 70ish mph, shaking the bridge even more.
Out of nearly 200 pictures that I took, I kept exactly 2 of them. I’m pretty happy with the result. I’ll go back and do this same shot again when the sky is better. I just wanted to share this because I used to see shots like this and I would want to get some tips on how to shoot long exposure photographs. I hope this sheds a little light on the process for someone. Also, sometimes you have to take 200 shots to get the one you want. That is fine. Just don’t show everyone your 199 bad shots 🙂
Oh, and once I got back in the car and drove off, I felt something in my front pocket. It was my remote that I thought I had lost. 🙂 🙂