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Mastering Long Exposure Photography

Lesson 3 of 11

Camera Settings and ND Filters Long Exposure Photography


Mastering Long Exposure Photography

Lesson 3 of 11

Camera Settings and ND Filters Long Exposure Photography


Lesson Info

Camera Settings and ND Filters Long Exposure Photography

Let's ah, let's talk about some key key camera settings here. So key sayings. Four for your long exposures. Um, aperture. All right. Aperture. You pick. Just like landscapes. You pick it creatively. What do you want to pick for your landscaping? Your outdoor stuff? Most of the time, it's gonna be, you know, F 11 f 16. I can give you, give you the formula that I use when I'm shooting. And that is if I'm shooting a scene. Let me backtrack here for a second. If I'm shooting a scene like this where I have a lot of foreground and background, I'm shooting up 16. Okay, I'm generally focusing up close because that's what you're going to see most in the photo. And and that's what I want to be sharpest in the photo. Everything back here will be acceptably sharp. Nobody will ever know the difference, but the tax sharp is gonna be up here, so I'm shooting of 16. If I'm shooting a scene like something like that, then I'm probably at a fate because there's nothing close enough to me that I have to w...

ear. Everything by this point is outed infinity. As far the lens is concerned, so I'm gonna shoot it f a from shooting things off in the distance. I have, ah, zoom tighter zoom lens on whatever happens to be a shooting at FAA. This is not portrait, by the way. Ports would be totally different. So I just That's my That's pretty much my formula. FAA. If there's nothing within however many, you know, 2030 feet of me and F 16 if I've got things in the foreground and I want to make sure that they're sharp, um so aperture you pick creatively you pick doesn't not really determined by a long exposure. Now, when we talk about how we tweak the shutter speed in ways that we can tweak the shutter speed, we'll talk a little bit more about aperture. But a Sfar as its concerned for right now you pick it. Ah, the shutter speed that's gonna be dictated by the scene. All right, so what ever seen it is you might want to second shutter speed. You might want a 32nd shutter speed. You wouldn't want a five minute shutter speed, but that's what we're gonna play with today. It's figuring out the shutter speed and what those scenes are I s o Generally, we're gonna have our I s o down at our lowest setting, and your focus is either gonna be auto or manual. Try to use auto most of the time, But there are gonna be times where you're gonna have to go in there like we talked about before and maybe use manual focus filters. Okay, so now we get into the really good stuff. So neutral density filters come in all shapes and kinds and sizes. What do we really want? What I would suggest you start with is going to be a screw on filter. So if you're new to this and you haven't invested anything in it, I'd say start with your typical screw on filter. OK, um, Tiffin makes some good ones. I mean, there's a lot of good news out there. I use the ones from Tiffin here, but you're your basic screw on filter is just a filter that screws onto the front airlines. Nothing else to it. Okay. Um uh, probably a good time to mention I created a long exposure gear guide. So there's there's there's two versions of it. One I created It's a really nice PdF. It's got clickable links. You can keep it on your computer, your IPad, your IPhone, whatever it's got clickable links in. And it kind of describes things a little bit better. That's if you purchase the class today, but at the same time on my website. Because I know there's so many people that air that need to know the gear and aren't gonna write it all down. There's a link on matt k photo dot com up in the menu bar long exposure gear. So it's got all the gear that I'm talking about listed there, but you got your typical score on filters. They come in all different densities. Okay, so all the air, all your different densities from one stop to stop three stop up to 10 stops. That's that's the density that the darkness of it. So that is your score on filters? Probably a Not a bad time either to talk a little. You know what? Now I'm told that off will come back toe. Welcome back to the density thing in a second here. Um, so you got your your score on filters? What I carry is this Tiffin set. So what? It is as it comes with a two, a three and a four stop filter. Rather than just buying one. I buy the set. It actually comes with the filter pouch and everything to have got six in here because I have some lenses that are 77 millimeter thread and some that are 82. So I sadly need to, um, two versions of each one, but it's probably around 100 bucks. It's in that gear guide that I talked to on the website, but what it does is it gives you three different versions. So a two a three and a four stop filter the way it works is to stop is obviously kind of dark. Three stops darker. Four Stop is even darker. So that's the screw on filters there. Easy, easy to work with, easy to carry. The downside is, is they do. You do have to screw them on enough. So if you're out of the chute and your shoot years, you're taking shot and you decide I don't want this filter on, then got to take it off, put it away, shoot and then all the sudden you do want it on again. You then got a screw back on and shoot, so there is a little bit of gear changing there. It doesn't seem like much if you're out and it's cold. It's miserable because you've got to take your your hands out of your gloves and I don't know just doing that. It just every time I'm out when it's cold, it just seems I hate myself for having screw on filters, but they're they're they're pretty easy to use. The only downside is actually putting them on and off. Then you got your square rectangle filters. So the next one is, uh, I used the filters from Lee, but high tech other companies have have great filters to, But these air, the square filters, okay, and the way that they work is they fit into some type of filter holder that's on your camera, some type of filter holder that you'd have to buy separate. But these air nice because they're easy to put in and out, right? So if you got this in your pocket, slide it in, shoot. You want the office, slide it out, you're done. They're slippery as anything. I can't tell you how many times I've dropped it and been lucky not to break like I was on a dock one. I was on it. I was kind of like this, like this table, you know, it's got these faces in between, and I mean, it's $150 filter and I want a dock and I'm taking it off and it just slides out and it falls, and I swear it's like ding ding, ding ding just misses going through through the water. But if I wasn't too close to losing it, then I was. I was hiking at a waterfall one time in the morning, and there's all this do and there's a big hill going down. And so I had my backpack on and I had the filter in the outer pocket of the backpack and I'm hiking down. I'm trying to be careful, but the ground is doing and it's a pretty steep incline, and I go on. I put my foot down and I slipped. I went straight back and went down on my backpack, and I didn't know what happened at the time. I always find it hurt, but I get down and I get my gear out and I start hoping to take the field third case out and I can just feel like pieces. And it got it got smashed. So and this was so the easily This is the Liebig stopper, by the way. So this is a 10 stop filter. I don't know if you consume into this, but you can't see through it, even see through the filter. Um, when they first came out a few years ago, it was like a six or eight month waiting list. So I waited my six months and got it and then broke it and then had to wait my six months again. So that wasn't fun. But now they're much more there. You can get him pretty easily now eso those of the square they Selman rectangles to on and then I don't have one here. But there's a There's a variable neutral density. I wonder if I have my my my polarizer. I have my yeah, so kind of like a pole. You know how a polarizer turns Turn it back and forth. Their circle of polo, a circular polarizer variable neutral density filter is very similar to that. It's actually pretty much to polarizer stacked on top of each other and you turn it and it varies the neutral density. So it's like carrying 89 10 filters in one filter and as you turn, it'll get darker later. All I can tell you is my personal experience with him, and that is, uh, they produce. Sometimes they work great in certain lighting. They produce a weird pattern because you can get yourself into trouble with these things because you get again. You gotta remember there to polarizer stacked on top of each other. And they've got, like, little markings that say 234567 Stop. If if you're out there and you're shooting and you're trying to change things and you miss and you move the markings the wrong way and you go to the other side of the filter, you get this weird X pattern, dark X pattern in your images, and it's really hard to see on the back your camera, especially if you're shooting your continually shooting. You're not really looking too closely at the back. Your camera You get these weird patterns and especially member polarizer czar, all meant with light. So as you're in different lighting scenarios, depending on where the sun is. I've just gotten some weird effects from So it's happened to me enough. And I've tried to use it enough that I just stopped. Um, so I some of you might have more ready. I apologize. And if you're if you're good with them, A have at it. But you're shaking your head like, yeah, this is happening to I got mine about three months ago when I absolutely love it. So I have not had that strange, light bending thing. And so, see, yeah, I think you listen to me that, you know, everybody thinks When did you get I don't know what's out in the hall. I would have to tell you on the break. I don't remember. It's like you know which one you go. OK, got I take it while you got the microphone. It's kind of a case where you get what you pay for my studio video, and I decided to switch to photo and get the better ones even less of that effect. Yeah, you definitely do. Get what? You pay for it with it. Um, I thought I had a pretty good. Another thing. Gotta watch out for two if you aren't again, so you can have excellent luck with them. You have to get thinner ones because what'll happen is you'll get a lot of Vignette Inc Remember, these didn't get thick because they are to filter scrunched together. So you got to get a thinner one because you'll get a lot of in getting, especially on your wide angle lenses. So be careful with that, but that's that your variable neutral density filters. I'm gonna go go back really quick. I have have the lead big stop. So if you're thinking, you know, this is a pretty big jump, right? I've got the 23 and four stop and then I jumped to the 10 stop. There's one in between that Lee makes, which is the little stopper. So there's extra ants, actually what it's called. So there's the big Stopper. And then there's little stopper, and this is a six stop Andy and honestly other other than what you're going to see in the field. In the videos that we shot the other day, this one probably goes on my camera the most because it's it's the perfect in between. What I mean is most of the time I'm trying to shoot sunrise or sunset, all right? Trying to get some decent light in the photo. The big stopper worked great when we were out the other day because we were out at a.m. In the morning, and we need to slow down the shutter, and that's the only way you're going to do it. But most of the time I'm out at sunrise or sunset. And just because of the reduction in light, when you put a 10 stop filter on, you're going to look at minute shutter speeds when I don't really need or want that long. So the six stop is a nice in between. You know, the three or the four stops sometimes isn't enough. The 10 stop is too much. But this little stopper is a real nice in between one, because it gives me just a long enough shutter speed that I need, but without making me wait five minutes to take a photo. So I haven't broken this one yet. By the way, notice I say yet I'll let you know when I dio, you know what the other? If the big stopper came in this nice cut that the little stopper came in, I might not have broken it, because the big stopper I know this is Tiffin on it. But the big stuff comes in something very similar to the the soft case. But the little stopper actually shipped in the tin. So, um and then not necessarily for those of you that here yesterday, though, we have a couple of new people, but for just anybody that's on the Internet watching What about graduated neutral density filters? You guys from yesterday? No, my feelings on that. They are dead to me. I won't go into a long thing about it. Just the grad nd filters air dead to me. Just because I think we can do you can get the effects of what they give us Too dark in the sky. We can get the effects of that much more reliably and better inside of light room or photo shop. So I don't carry my grad Andy filters around, um, with me. And then the last thing I'll say is just a question that I get a lot. So hopefully all had this question off ahead of time is what happens if you want to use a polarizer on top of a filter. Well, if you're using the screw on filters, you can stack. So I could I could very simply just take my neutral density filter, all right? And then take my polarizer and just screw on top on the stack on top of each other. That'll work just fine. Um, then getting could be an issue. So you got You don't want to be stacking three filters on top of each other, but you can stack a polarizer on top of a neutral density filter on that will work just fine if you're shooting into the sun, be careful as you stack filters because you're given your letting light bounce around a lot inside of there. So I try to avoid that. But you could stack If you're gonna use one of the square filters, then you're gonna need a your new need, something a little bit different. So with your square filters, they come with a foundation kit, or I shouldn't say they come with it. They don't come with that. You go buy it. Uh huh. And if you're thinking. Oh, how much can this piece of plastic costs it can cost as much as the filter itself cost. So it's Yeah, it once you get into this, remember how I said don't worry about spending so much money over here cause you're gonna have plenty to spend over here. The foundation kit and the filter together are 240 bucks. So it's like 1 41 50 for the filter and pride. Another 100 bucks for the foundation kids. And then, of course, the foundation kit doesn't come with the adapter. You go by this separate. So So here's what happens. Here's how this all works. Here, let me start to get a mess up here. Here's how this all works together. Is is the tripod on here work for you because it keeps me from holding it. I couldn't hold it if you'd rather and that'll she's like no home. Um, so the way that it works is you need an adapter ring and you put that onto the lens, and then the kit. That's basically the filter holder that fits into the adapter ring and then filter slides in the filter holder. So that's what I was talking about about. I know I said these were easy. Once they're on, that's pretty easy, because if I'm shooting with and I decide I don't want it, I just take it off that simple. I don't have to screw it on and off. So it is it. Once you get the whole thing on there, it's it's it's pretty easy to work with. But the idea is you just you can slide this in and out. Um, you'll also notice it comes with It's actually got two slots in there so I could take my 10 stop and I could actually slide the six stop in in front of it. And I have stops getting pretty crazy there. But that's how these that's how these guys work. And the idea behind it is these little these little accessories. So this is the 82 millimeter one. And then here's the 77 1 So it's obviously not gonna fit on here. But what it keeps me from doing is having a by multiple versions of this. I put this on the lens, and then it just fits right into there. So no, I don't have to have multiple ones of these. I just have to have one of these for every size lens that I have. So that's how your ah, So those guys work. What brought us to this topic was the polarizer. So if you're gonna use that foundation kit and you can use that kit, you actually have to buy a special polarizer that goes on top of it. Because what happens is, as you'll see, this is not gonna work. But you'll see this thing so my polarizer will actually screw into this ring. That's right up front here so I can slide my neutral density in, and then I inside the polarizer and on top of it, so that's not enough filters for you. Um, but like I said, the the filters air usually going to be the square filters, usually going to be about 140 150 bucks. You're looking about another 100 bucks for the holder and the kit. That three filter tiffen said that I told you about is great because it comes with a little pouch. Hold him off for you. Um, and that's gonna be anywhere from 80 to 120 bucks for? For all three. And the little power. So it just depends what size that you buy. They go up in price. Okay. Think that about takes me Teoh. You guys have any questions before we go over here? Can you talk about focusing? When, Ah, for instance, the 10 stop graduated filter. And maybe to some degree, the six. If you can't see, how are you focusing the pre focus? Is that enough? Do you lose the focus when you fiddle around with the lens? Sure. We're gonna We're actually going to see that in the video outline, but online. Um, what happens is is you pre focus. Turn your turn your camera to manual focus. Then you put the filtering. So good question, though, because your camera is not gonna be able to focus through this thing most a year. You're 234 stops. My camera can focus and meet her through it, and everything is good. But once you put this on and you'll see this happen in our video, once you put this on, you're gonna have to pre focus before you do it. Very good. Here. Awesome. Well, you got a lot of questions coming in from online. So I want to let you guys know, keep asking questions. Use that ask button above the video player there. If you have questions for Matt, we'll get as many as we can. And if you see a really good question, you can vote it up by clicking that little up era, which is really helpful for us as we're sifting through all of them. Um, so do you use hyper focus distance at all or hyper focal? Sorry, Just never know. Okay, that was easy to the next one. Um, interested in whether Matt employs a long exposure noise reduction when he shoots with shutter speeds in excess of, say, one or two minutes, effectively doubling exposure, shooting and process times. Cheers. Okay, so so long exposure. Noise reduction. It's a feature in the camera. If you're not familiar with it, you can you turn it on. And what it will do is it will do some in camera noise reduction. The longer the exposures, basically, the hotter the center gets and you get these gets noisy so you can turn long exposure, noise reduction on what it does and what what that person was alluding to was that if it's a 32nd exposure, when it's done, it actually takes another 30 seconds to process in the camera So you won't see your photo for 60 seconds, and it will reduce the noise. I I used to use it before I got the D 800 the d A. 10. It's camera based. I hate to say that, but this thing is is just noiseless, so I don't have to use it. You know, I've gotten I've had shutter speeds. I've had 345 minutes with this thing and I haven't used long explosion noise reduction. And there's barely any noise in them. So it's one of those things. You gotta You gotta look at your camera. You gotta look at the photo. Try it, see if you see a lot of noise in it. If you do, then it'll definitely help again. I used to use it before that. Um, once I got the D 800 the d a 10. They're just They're amazing cameras with noise, and I haven't had to use it since. Awesome. So I know the, uh I know the Sony system uses a pretty similar, um, pretty similar technology in it. So I haven't seen it inside that as well, so just consider that. Okay, um, getting a lot of questions about mirror lock on whether or not mirror lock is necessary for long exposures. All right, so mere lock. That's a really good question. Um, mirror lock is again. If you're not familiar with it's the you can sit your camera so that the mirror lock, you press the button once the mere locks up and you press the button again in the mirror and actually takes the picture. What that does Is it supposed to avoid the vibration of the mirror going open and closing? What's happened inside of the cameras? It's so and back in a long time. Years ago, definitely, like that was that was a technique we used all the time. Your cameras have gotten pretty good at dampening that that technology, the features still in there, it's not gonna hurt you. But I don't use it anymore because I haven't found it helped me and I've done all the tests. I've done the test with mayor lockup, done the test without, and there's just no difference in there. So again, I can say I don't personally use it because I haven't found it to be useful anymore. Their cameras were getting really good at dampening all that stuff. Try it out with your camera. Do a test one with one without and see if it works. Um, let's see. So is there a problem with the sensor heating up with long exposures? Just sensor. Ever, Ever heat up its That's the goes kind of goes back to the noise issue and you get these hot pixels and different things like that If you do a crazy 10 minutes, 20 minutes. I remember the star trail thing. So if you're doing crazy, crazy, long exposures it mostly we'll get noisy. I haven't heard of one breaking from it yet, but I'm sure it's happened. Yeah, the biggest risk is just noise. Awesome. Um, how do you or how do you do? Long exposure, scenery, but with people in it? And you want to get captured? The people sharp. Um what have you ever done that first I have and what? What I'll do is actually good. Put what I've got. One an example that will post process later where it's not a person, but it's got a moving boat in it, okay? And so it's we can we can take a picture before the long exposure and get everything sharp. Then do your long exposure and go in there and try to blend the two together.

Class Description

Long exposure photography helps you to create truly dramatic images. In Mastering Long Exposure Photography with Matt Kloskowski you’ll learn how to capture images in which water appears to move and clouds streak across the sky.

Matt is a landscape photographer and the best-selling author of over 20 books on photography, Lightroom, and Photoshop. In this class, you’ll watch Matt at work in the field as he demonstrates his favorite techniques. 

You’ll learn about:

  • Camera settings for capturing extended exposures 
  • Helpful photography equipment and apps 
  • Post-processing long exposure images 

Matt will discuss which filters work for long exposure photographs and he’ll show you how to create images that seem to move and convey the passage of time.

If you've been wanting to create dramatic images, Mastering Long Exposure Photography with Matt Kloskowski is the class for you. It'll open you up to a whole new style of captivating fine art photography.



I always enjoy the opportunity to learn something new from one of my favorite teachers, and Matt rarely disappoints. The material that he covers in this class on long exposures will give the viewers enough tools and techniques to get them on their way to creating quality captures. He gives many tips how to overcome some of the most commonly found issues and pitfalls that long exposures can include. If there was any disappointment in what I received, it would be the duplication of the "bonus" material (except for the 'cheat sheet') from the class I had purchased the day before. I might add that "Photoshop and Lightroom for Landscape Photographers" is a great companion to this class and is also worthy of purchase. The second disappointment, at least for me, was Matt's not including long exposures that involve capturing the night sky... stars, Milky Way, Moon, etc. THAT would be a perfect opportunity for CreativeLive to jump in and put a class together. I would be willing to bet that it would be HUGELY popular. Just a thought! Again, a big 'thank you' to Matt for another solid presentation. I'll be tuning in to his next presentation.

Karen Witter

I have loved all of the classes I've taken from Matt, and this class was no exception. Matt explains everything so clearly and then beautifully illustrates what he means. I learned a ton from this class. I love how practical he is, as well as his engaging manner of teaching. I highly recommend this class if you're interested in taking pictures where you want to convey motion which, as he explains, is how our eyes really see.


I enjoyed this class immensely. It took the mystery out of long exposure photography for me. I am anxiously awaiting my ND filters so I may get started utilizing all that I learned in this terrific class. I found the 'field' portion of the class especially helpful--watching Mr. Kloskowski actually setting up for long exposure shots and the steps needed to understand the procedure necessary to accomplish the beautiful results he obtained. Thanks!