61 seconds


That’s how long the shutter was open when I made this photograph. I find it interesting how a long exposure condenses time into one frame, and as you can see, the effects can be quite striking. During the 61 seconds between when the shutter opened and closed, the path of several waves washing in and out was rendered as a mist, and the fast moving clouds appear to streak across the pre-dawn sky. All the while, the famous lighthouse maintains its place, perched high above the rocky shoreline to warn mariners of the imminent danger that approaching too close would bring.

When first arriving on a scene like this, I like to experiment with longer exposures. I usually switch my camera to bulb mode – where I can keep the shutter open for as long as I want – and I use my remote release to shoot several exposures, each of a different length. The LCD on the back of the camera gives me an idea of how the length of exposure is impacting the photograph, and a peek at the histogram confirms any adjustments I might need to make.

A sturdy tripod is a must in this type of situation, as is a remote cable release. With exposures of this length any vibration of the camera can cause a blurry image, so I will make sure to solidly anchor my tripod, I’ll flip up the mirror, and then use the remote release so that I don’t have to even touch the camera. While the exposure develops, there’s not much more I can do, other than get out from behind the viewfinder, take a few deep breaths, and truly soak in the scene – these are the moments that mean the most to me. I don’t say it that often, but as with the photograph I made last weekend in Acadia… I like this photograph.


15 thoughts on “61 seconds

    • David Patterson

      Thanks. I recently purchased a 6-stop ND filter that I have hardly used, but I really should experiment some more… that and night photography are two areas I am interested in exploring.

    • David Patterson

      Thanks Beedie… I admit to getting a kick out of trying to figure out the technical side of using a camera. I guess if you know how something happens, you might be more inclined to try and apply it πŸ™‚

    • David Patterson

      Thanks. I experiment by holding the shutter open for different lengths of time. I knew the clouds would show motion as they did, but I didn’t know how much. Without looking at the timer on the camera, an exposure of 61 seconds proves that I was pretty close to estimating a minute πŸ™‚

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