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Mastering Long Exposure Photography

Lesson 10 of 11

In the Field Demo: Capturing Streaky Lights

Matt Kloskowski

Mastering Long Exposure Photography

Matt Kloskowski

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Lesson Info

10. In the Field Demo: Capturing Streaky Lights

Lesson Info

In the Field Demo: Capturing Streaky Lights

This is out at the Jose Rizal Bridge and It Z semi popular spot in Seattle To shoot the skyline from its Got the nice. You'll see the interstate kind of war winds its way into the city really nicely. So it Z semi popular spot to shoot from And what we're trying to do is we're trying to capture the motion of the cars and the lights that are there and and how we can use the long exposure to make that work. Dorothy Jose, Dr Jose Rizal Bridge Here in Seattle, Washington It's really nice. Shot it. It's got a kind of a winding freeway that leads right into downtown Lots of cool things that you could do with long exposure as the light starts to fade. Right. So when the light starts to fade and you have lights, you have cars, lights in the city. Whatever happens to be, you could capture movement in those lights. The first thing I would tell you is if you get out there and it's dark enough, don't worry about filters, right? Vids dark. You're probably not gonna need any filters. You're gonna get...

a shutter speed. That's gonna be plenty long enough. Where the filters can come in, get really creative shots is when the lights fading. Because if you were to see behind me, there's some color in the sky. So the lights faded. We can see the lights. We could see headlights weaken, see lights that are moving. But when it comes to exposure, it's still going to be a pretty fast shutter speed that you're not gonna capture much movement in those lines. So let's go ahead and test it out. All right? I've got everything framed up here. F a one r 400 isso. So I'm gonna go ahead and take a photo. It says 40th of a second. All right. The cars are barely blurred, all right, I can tell that they're barely everything. Any movement there, even though I can see the lights, there's not much movement there, so I have so 401st thing we can do. Let's get her eye and so down. So I'm gonna take it down as low as it can go. Take another shot. I had about 1/5 of a second. It's a little bit of movement in the cars, a little bit of blur but not much. I mean, a couple of feet. We're looking for those nice, long, streaky photos. So this isn't going to do it. I was at F eight. So what's our next thing? We're gonna raise your appetite, so I'm gonna go straight up to F 22. Now we're getting somewhere. So now that's gonna be about its second and 1/2. So I'll take a photo. I can actually see some movement in the lights. Now, I'm actually seeing more movement. More that streak. You look so we're getting there. We're not quite there. Not quite there for a couple of reasons. It's still pretty bright out, so we're not going to get a long enough shutter speed. I'm looking for something in the 567 2nd range. Maybe even longer. The other reason we're not quite there. And this is more just look, is sunset in Seattle in June? Do you know what time sunsets in Seattle? June, It's nine o'clock. People aren't coming home from work at nine people. I'm going to work at 5 a.m. When the sun rises here in Seattle. So you don't have as many cars on the road which makes a longer exposure, even Mawr important because it will really let the cars that air there. It'll let their light trail kind of extend longer than it normally would. Okay, So kind of becomes important for a couple of reasons we're gonna put on. I got the three stop filter here taking great care to not drop it over the side of the bridge because it seems that when you don't want to drop a filters, exactly when you do drop, we got the three stop filter on. Remember, it's not so dark that your cameras not gonna be able to meet her through it. So your camera will still be able t determine the exposure through its Let's go ahead and see what we got here. So now I'm getting about four seconds. All right, let's give it a try. Much better right now. I'm getting nice, long streaky lights in there longer the shutter stays open longer. That streak is gonna be it's gonna capture those lights and it's gonna let them go throughout the duration of the exposure. Only thing I could do from this point, I could go more dense in my neutral density don't really think I have to. I'm pretty good here. One thing I might do is drop this down to I s 0 100 because this camera will goto eso 64 gonna take it down. That's gonna extend my shutter speed a little bit longer. So now it's gonna be right around six seconds or sell, take one more photo. And that about does it. So you could see the difference from where we started to to the difference When we get 678 seconds here, the longer you stay out here longer, the shutter speeds gonna get. You're not gonna have to put any neutral density filters on. Just the fact that all of that light is fading is going dark in this enough. In fact, you're going to get to a point. You're probably just gonna take filter off. The problem with that is, and I kind of talked about in the beginning is we lose a little bit of that color in the sky and I like to mix my night shots. I like them or to be more of that twilight time when you have some color in the sky. But you also get the lights in the buildings and the lights in the cars. All right, so, uh, that was the That was the bridge shop. Um, no, it's funny. Everybody beeps like they just drive by. Everything must happen 100 times, and we're there. But bp Hi, we're here. So that's just you. Get out of the way. So but so some pretty interesting things we can do with it their, uh, what I would say is, is I kind of mentioned it there, but the later you stay out, the longer the shutter speeds going to get automatically. Okay, the darker that it got mean it changed pretty dramatically when I was there. So the longer you stay out there, the longer the shutter speeds gonna get. So why would I go out early? And I alluded to it in the video because a t least my personal preferences is cities and downtowns. In those skylines, they look a little bit better with some color in the sky. I don't typically just want black behind the cities in Scotland, so I like a little bit of that. That dusk, that twilight type of time for the photo on and that's only gonna happen a little bit earlier, so I could have just gone out there minutes an hour past sunset. We'll even be 10 o'clock, but you could have gone there when it's dark enough. Set my camera. Not need any trying nothing in any Try but not need any filter here or anything I'll get. I'll get a 32nd exposure like that. Sure, I could have done that, but I've gotten zero color in the sky, and that's that's why I wanted toe work with it and play with a little more just to me. It makes him more interesting photo on and then has nothing to do with long exposure. But if you're going to shoot city skylines and kind of the downtown areas and streets and try to get light streaks and things like that, uh, nine oclock at night, not the best time to do it. So let's go live in L. A. You can probably get a pretty decent traffic at night at night, but in most other in most other cities, nine oclock at nights Not gonna do it. So look for rush hour, times, evenings, a little bit better more people generally stay late to work, then they view and then go early and then during the week is better. Rather than try to do it on a Saturday or Sunday, especially for not only the traffic patterns but also the lights in the building, You think they're not gonna be quite as many lights on in the buildings on weekends on? I actually did some research on this because I kind of taught a class on shooting cityscapes, so I didn't re some research on this Tuesday and Wednesday are the two of the biggest cleaning days in buildings. Just random fact. But that's when the lights tend to be on. So even after work, there's a lot of lights on because people are cleaning and all that stuff. So just random stupid fact about shooting city skylines, Uh, just to know when the cleaning crew is gonna be there

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.

D Kelly

Excellent class! Great for beginners who want to learn LE photography. I started experimenting with LE last Fall and this course totally reinforced everything I learned. I loved the "hands on" demonstrations in the field and how each frame he shot was explained. His excellent explanations of how to use the filters was very good. An easy going instructor who made what is often a confusing subject very easy to grasp.

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.