SEA LANDSCAPES ON A LONG EXPOSURE
Removing the sea on a long exposure, you can turn it from a stormy and raging to a calm and mystical one. Especially for the readers of our magazine, the Lithuanian photographer Rolandas Sutkus tells you what conditions are necessary for such a shooting.
Of course, long exposure photography requires patience and skill. But, when it starts to turn out, you will see beautiful, a bit fantastic landscapes. You will never notice with the naked eye how nature changes within 3-5-10 minutes, especially with regard to the sea element. In your imagination, you can guess what the frame will be like, but suddenly the photo will turn out to be completely different – surprises await you. How to make a good shot?
To make the shot as good as possible, I recommend having a good tripod that should be stable even in strong winds. It does not have to be expensive. Its main advantage should consist in a fortress, a good platform, stability. When filming in the company of other photographers, I often observed how unstable tripod spoiled frames – they came out unfocused, blurred. The slightest tripod movement negated all the work. Also need a remote, wireless or wired. I use a wired model: I consider it more reliable.
Sometimes for a successful seascape you have to go into the sea, but this must be done with extreme caution so as not to damage photographic equipment. The tripod legs should be drowned in the sea sand so that the waves could not move it. And only after that I attach the camera, and then hold the whole structure with my hands, trying not to move.
The lens must turn off all the functions of automatic stabilization, otherwise you will not avoid camera vibration. I advise you to shoot in manual mode using BULB shutter speed. Put the device on the function of raising the mirror and shoot at the second press of the console.
Starting work, I first wipe the lens and filters. I use the LEE Filters filter system. They satisfy all my expectations, especially I like the natural colors. I would not advise using different brands of filter systems. I often apply ND Grads filters of varying degrees of gradation, depending on the lighting. CPL gives structure to the clouds. Still using LEE Stopper. I must say that CPL is of two kinds. One gives the coldness, and the other makes the color scheme warmer.
The angle of the lens should be wide. I advise 14 mm, 24 mm, but this also cancels the possibility of using 200 mm. However, we must understand that 200 mm compresses the image.
The correct time of day and weather
What time is better to shoot the sea on a long exposure – in the evening, in the morning, at night? Is it safe for a photographer and photo technician to enter the waves?
Most often I take pictures of the sea in the early morning and at sunset. This is a “golden” watch for the photographer, at this time the sky is painted in the most beautiful colors. I try to shoot when there are clouds and even clouds in the sky.
Very interesting shots are obtained before or after the rain. I try to catch the time when there are clouds and strong wind in the sky. In such conditions, the most interesting images are obtained, because with a long exposure these clouds acquire fantastic outlines, especially if they are rounded or layered.
Of course, it happens that I take pictures during the day, but then you must carefully monitor the lens so that the side sunlight does not get into it. And, of course, magic shots are obtained at night. Many photographers collect their technique and leave as soon as the sun has set. But not me. At this moment the most fascinating begins. The night sea is a very interesting topic. Everything is different: the color of the sea, the clouds, and the nature around. Of course, night shooting has its own characteristics. It is necessary to set the settings correctly and not be afraid to raise the ISO. Then even the slightest gleam will be fixed in the frame, and the result will exceed your expectations. Even on a dark night, your camera will catch the lights of the city, reflected in the clouds. Well, if there is a little fog that blends paint.
Once again, when shooting at night, do not be afraid to raise the ISO. If you select the correct lighting settings, the digital noise is almost not visible. Do not dwell on the meter reading in manual mode. It can show that the frame is heavily illuminated, although the photograph at the exit will be normally exposed. Of course, you need to do more than one frame, and experiment.
Extract from 25 to 30 seconds if you want the stars to look like small dots. Above 30 seconds – and they will become bright lines. The longer the shutter speed, the longer the lines will be. The longest exposure I worked with was 1 hour 30 minutes. The hardest thing was to follow the lens – so that it would not be covered with dew and so that an alternative source of light would not appear from anywhere.
The picture came out very unusual, and many photographers were surprised that it turned out at all. Photographers take such pictures by shooting 1000 times at small intervals, and then using special programs.