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Mastering Long Exposure Photography

Lesson 2 of 11

Long Exposure Photography Gear

Matt Kloskowski

Mastering Long Exposure Photography

Matt Kloskowski

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Lesson Info

2. Long Exposure Photography Gear

Lesson Info

Long Exposure Photography Gear

gear for long exposure. So let's start off. You need a camera, You need a camera. You need to camp As far as the camera goes, it's We talked about a little bit about this in the landscape class yesterday. But the cool part about most of our nature and outdoor and landscape photography is that you don't really need the most expensive gear. Okay, um, when it comes to gear for shooting long exposures so what would, um, or expensive camera get you more expensive? Camera would get you higher. Higher, higher. I s O higher ability to shoot I eso without the photos getting incredibly noisy. I was. So I'm supposed to hold things up and not move them, by the way, and I'm sitting there going like this. Sorry about that. I'm just gonna put it down. Just leave it there. You can do it on it. Um, So what? So they're gonna get you hire I eso without the photos being, you know, just destroyed with noise When it comes a long exposure Photography. We don't want high I. So because what's what? It's higher...

. I s I s o do It reduces our shutter speed when it comes long exposures were all about long shutter speed. So we're never gonna use High I s o um it's got higher frames per second again. We're not shooting fast, kind of anything about long exposure again. I guess I I go to I go to more of a feeling it slows you down. All right. We've probably all if if you're into shooting outdoors, you've probably run around like crazy at sunrise or sunset because the light changes just like that and you're frantically searching and trying to find that spot and hoping you found this button. So you're running around like crazy and changing lenses and dropping things and doing all this stuff cool part about long exposure is it slows you down because if you're doing a 62nd or two minute or three minute exposure, you just sit there and enjoy. Hit your cable, released it, but on your camera and sit back and relax for two or three minutes, which, when you're when you're shooting outside, a lot of times that doesn't happen, so it's ah, it's more of a common experience. Bring a beer with you and just sit back and relax um so from from the camera perspective, we don't get a whole lot from having the biggest, bestest, fastest newest camera. Okay, Um, what are what are we really going to get from it? The way I think about the camera body Part of this is his megapixels that, you know, the newer, some of the more expensive, bigger than megapixels. Bigger than megapixels, the bigger the print. So if you're printing huge than maybe you need something like that. But if you're not printing huge, any camera you bought in the last five years is gonna print about as big as you want it to print toe, hang on your wall home. So I wouldn't worry. I wouldn't sweat too much about the camera. Trust me, there's gonna be a lot of other things and photography that you're gonna be able to spend money on. So don't feel like you have You got to sweat too much on the camera. I will tell you that, uh, and I don't It's not necessarily even a product of amore expensive camera, but the not everything is created equal. So some cameras, if you were to look here, some cameras have a little well, thinking back here to close the eyepiece. So that's kind of neat, just little frills that make life a lot easier so it could open and close the eyepiece. There you will see that in one of our videos where we go outside, uh, you'll you'll see my lack of closing it, no matter how many times. And I said, I said this in the video, so I shouldn't say it again. But no matter how many times I tell you, I tell myself that light leak that white getting inside their during a long exposure has ruined a photo. It still takes me at least two or three shots before I figured out to turn it off again. Um, but some cameras have that. Some cameras will. Some cameras have a built in timer mood. I would love it if my camera did, because a built in timer takes the need away for a cable release. Just hit your shutter and set it for 60 seconds. Said it for 90 seconds. Most most your cameras, they hit. Once you get the 30 seconds they have bowled mode and then you've got to go into your care release and hold that down. So you got that, uh, the D a tennis kind of need because it will go down to a native I s 0 64 So if you think about, you know, remember, we're raising I s O So most of us started 100 some cameras through 200 raising I eso is gonna make our shutter speed faster. Going lower makes her shutter speed longer. So that's pretty cool, because when I go down to I so 64 sometimes I avoid the need to put a filter on all together, So that's kind of neat. Not every camera does it. I'll caution you to. So if your camera stops at 100 then you go down and it says like, l one or l two, that's that's not the same. So don't don't go below, You know, make sure it's a number, not an l something because that's not a native. I Isoda your camera. Um, so if it's care of her camera lenses, so what type of Lynch's you need again, as as an outdoor landscape photographer? The nice part about this is you don't need the most expensive fastest lenses Why? Well, think about what those lenses get you. They get you. Most of them. They call, they call it fast, fast glass, fast lenses. Most of them, it's It's for that super wide aperture. That's super wide aperture of shooting and low light, getting great depth of field, whatever it happens to be separating your subject. So that's why we pay so much money for some of those expensive lenses. Well, as a landscape photographer, you can buy Lend that that shoots at F 2.8 throughout the range of the lens. But you're never gonna shoot a 2.8, right? Never gonna go there now if you do other types of photography. Absolutely, definitely. Good toe have. But again, I'm talking more for landscaping, outdoor stuff. You're never gonna do it. So you're a great example. Is this? Nikon makes ah 16 to 35 millimeter lens, which is, you know, to decent size. It's a little bit bigger than this. 24 to 70 here. Two decent size lands, decently expensive. Probably got to be close to two grand 1500 bucks. and 16 to 35. Will they make an 18 to 35. That weighs about half of what? That 16 to 35 ways. It's almost half a small. It's at least 1/3 of small, and it's so much it is less than half the price. So what's the difference? 16. 18 millimeters. So two millimeters. I'm not losing that much on the wide angle side. The difference is, is that lens has a variable aperture throughout the range, and its lowest Apertura is like, you know, F 5.6 or whatever happens to be. But I remember having a discussion with somebody, and I say, Yeah, I've switched. I got rid of my 16 to 35 now I use the 18 and they're like, Yeah, but you can't shoot at lower apertures. I'm like, When do I? You know, I never I never shoot that lens at 2.8 or F or whatever. The lowest aperture with it was. So all I lost was two millimeters, and it's so much later, and that's something to consider when you're lugging your backpack around all the time to be light so we don't need the biggest, baddest, fastest um, glass. That's out there. Okay? Want decent glass. You want a nice image. But if it's on the market today, most of the lenses are gonna produce a good, sharp image. So I wouldn't sweat that stuff Too much tripod. So our tripod, we're gonna need a tripod for long exposure. You could say you could save four landscape photography. I'm not going to shoot on tripod on the steady hand holder. And I'm not using a tripod. Which which I would say when? When you approach any landscape seen you should be off of your tripod. You should walk around. Don't. Don't put your camera on your tripod because it automatically becomes this anchor. You put your camera on a tripod and you don't move anywhere. So when it comes to landscapes, I would say Walk around, get your camera crank up your eye. Isoda 6400. Take a couple test shots. Fine, fine. Your location. Let your location let your shooting location be dictated by what you want. Then go find your tripod and finagle it into those spots. But when it comes a long exposure, you're needed. Okay? Once you're not gonna be able to hand hold this stuff. So we want a semi sturdy tripod because this is its outdoor photography. Um, all I can tell you is his experience experience in that I have one of those really skinny travel tripods. You're the kind of like they collapse into about this big, literally does fit in my laptop bag. They collapsed to this big, Um, the legs when they come out are literally like I mean, they're so thin. It is great because I can travel with it if I'm not checking bags and I need to be really, really light when I'm traveling, it is it's awesome, but the slightest bit of wind, the slightest bit of vibration and especially with long exposure stuff. Now you have movement in your photo and I've been there. I've been I've been to these, you know, e travel, a decent amount for work, and sometimes I just don't want to bring this. So I bring it. I bring the small tripod, and I'm in some of these windy locations and I just can't get a photo. There's just nothing you can do because it's just it's windy and you can see it moving. So there's something to be said for a sturdier tripod, especially when we're near the water. Um, in some ways, you spend all the money for for light carbon fiber tripods. But in some of the ways, heavy is not bad, all right, if it's as long as you can carry it, get it within the means of what you can carry. Heavy is better. You if you see those really expensive tripods that our carbon fiber and they're lighter and everything doesn't mean cause they're not heavy, they're not good. There's a lot of dampening technology built into that, and so just because it's not, it doesn't weigh £20 doesn't mean it's not gonna be sturdy. But there's a lot of dampening technology. I just I started using really right stuff back when I first started, and I can say that, you know, it took me. It probably took me like, three years before I invested in a really right stuff ball head. As soon as I got it, I just I said to Mom like, I can't believe I waited three years and that waas eight years ago and I still have the same ball head, so I've had the same tripod for probably five years so they it holds up. But, I mean, there's a lot of good brands out there. Just if I could give you one. Word of advice is don't buy the smallest skinniest tripod thinking. I want to travel light, give some thoughts of this stuff landscapes outdoors. You got on top of these mountains in these windy places and it will wreak havoc on you site. So tiny side story, because I'll kind of fit for some of you guys because we're out here in Seattle. I, uh, and you guys been to the police area? So there's a place called Steptoe Butte, which is where you see those classic like the rolling green fields and everything like that. So you go on top of this Steptoe Butte and we got up there in the morning. I mean, it was literally like it was moving people. It was blowing so hard. So I had my tripod. I had a 200 to 400 lens that I borrowed from somebody. Because everything is so far out there, it's actually tighter shots that are better at a 200 to 400 lens. So that's the sitting on top of here a lot of weight. Good tripod. It's moving so that I'm like, OK, I'm gonna grab my camera bag attached my camera bag and I even went and found rocks and put them into my camper Paige and attached it under here and made sure the camera bags lying on the ground. You don't want it dangling in the wind that just moved it, so made sure it's kind of sitting on the ground, and it's like I'm looking through the viewfinder and I can just see this whole time it wasnt that bad, and I'm sitting them like I can't believe I've come this far And I'm not going to get a shot of like the one place I wanted to get a photo from like I can't get, I'm taking them and I'm zooming in on the LCD and they're blurry. I can't get a shot and there's nothing I could do. I'm like hanging on the tripod, So I did what you're never supposed to do. I just tried it. You know, you're not supposed to put VR on when you're on a tripod, vibration reduction or image stabilization. I put VR on on the tripod and instantly sharp. So consider you just the lesson learns it was exact, the exact opposite. You're really not supposed to have that turned on because that can introduce vibration into your lens. The motor that's in there. But when it's windy enough and and your cameras moving enough, it actually worked really good. All right. So that your tripod something sturdy. And, uh, and then most of the time, you probably need a cable release. Okay, Uh, the cable release is going to come in handy when you get over 30 seconds. If your camera doesn't have one of those built in interval or built in timers in it, some of the newer cameras, a lot of the older cameras don't have it. But the cable release is going to help out with those longer exposures, because what you don't want to do is have your camera. You wanna have your cameras sitting on top of the tripod and let it fall off the table. What you don't want to do is have your camera sitting on top of the tripod, and you don't want to be holding that down when you're in bold mood so you could could be a bold mood. And if it's a last resort, you'd have to I've been there. Trust me. Um, because the bad thing is, these things are battery operated. And so you guys have been with me for the last two days. I'm sure it doesn't surprise you that on occasion I'll forget batteries. So? So there have been times Rahm sitting there like delicately holding, holding the button down for 60 seconds. But you could do that. But you really don't want to, because you're you're still introducing vibration into the photo that way. And if you look through you, if you think your sturdy and you are if you look through the viewfinder and you do this, trust me, you'll see you'll see it moving. So that will let you get the longer exposures. That way, if you've got a newer camera, awesome, because you know what you can do. And if you have an exposure under 30 seconds, what you do is you put your camera onto timer mode self timer to give it like a two or a five second self timer. Go over there, hit the button, let go, and then let it stay open for 2025 30 seconds. Whatever it is, So you don't need the cable release for that. If you had won the cameras with the timers on it, that would do it. So that'll, uh, that'll take care of that. But the cable releases, they come in all different flavour, so you'll find the wired kind. You'll find the wireless kind. I don't personally use the wireless kind because I always lose part of it. All right, there's two parts of it. There's a part that's got to go in the camera, and there's a part that you're gonna hold, and that's just way too many parts for me to lose. So I usually go with the wired kind. It's got a little time or on its got interval time, Ron, it's got a lot of stuff. As we get into this, you're going to see that there's an app that we're going to use a lot of these APS that we use for this stuff half timers built in so you don't even necessarily need the timer in your cable released, because if you're doing this, you're going to need a nap in the APP passes, you got your phone with you. You definitely take advantage of it. So it takes care of, um the camera gear. Any, uh, any questions on that? We all good. Oh, for your focusing to use life live you focus. Good question. So for focusing dough, I use live, you focus. Sometimes I do. So how do I We're gonna try to do something here. So what we can do is and I'd encourage you to try this out on your own, because this this is how if I just found it from a just experimenting one day and I was amazed your cameras are pretty good at focusing. I mean, there there, there's a lot of great technology in there, so they're pretty dead on it focusing. So one day, I I had my had my camera on and I was sitting there and I was shooting something, and I'm like, You know what? Let me just try live you You know what it was. I think it was dark enough that auto focus wasn't picking up on my camera. I was probably I think that's how I stumbled into this. It was dark enough that auto focus wasn't picking up, but it was light enough that I could still see you. No, I could I could go on the viewfinder, I could see, See through. So So I went into live. You and I zoomed in and I focused. So then and it worked. And that obviously worked fine. So now I'm like, once I figure that I'm like, you know, next time I'm shooting and it's a little bit later out. I want to do a test and see how auto focus does and then see how live you and manually focusing. It does. And sometimes it was non existent. Sometimes the results were not existing. Auto focus did just fine. But sometimes I was amazed at how different what the camera focused on and what I was able to get tax sharp eye by manually focusing on live you. So I want to show you what he was talking about here. If you haven't seen, are you gonna be able to see the LCD? So if I go in alive, you you can kind of see that it showing you the back of the you know, that wall over there. But what's cool about this is I can zoom in and by zooming in I would not hit the minus button. By the way, that would be the plus, but I can zoom in. All right, let me, uh kind turn it. Ah, header That still OK for you area so I can zoom in So it's just zoomed in on the wall there. And then I can manually tweak that because I live you to meet live use not too much different than me looking through the viewfinder and manually focusing. And I don't trust my eyes to do that. But when I can zoom in on the back and I can actually go in there and really fine tune I mean, you're talking tax sharp as sharpest sharp can be, and so I'd encourage you. Do do some tests on your own. Try it at home. Sometimes it's different. Sometimes it's not. The camera will pick up auto focus a lot of times, but if we kind of alluded to it yesterday, remember when I said, If you're at one of those locations and it's gorgeous, you're in a beautiful spot. The lights perfect weather is perfect. There's something amazing happening. Those were the times where I go that little extra. I don't do it all the time, but those are the times when I know, like, Wow, I'm in front of something. Good. I want to make sure I get this is good as I can those other times where I go a little bit extra, and I might go in there and actually manually focus it through live you. So Yeah, great question. Because I use that. I actually use that quite often. Uh, we're all good here. Yeah. You mentioned using the wide angle, like 16 Teoh or 18 to 40 or whatever it was. What other lenses which you use for long exposure, I would say. And I would say I wouldn't actually use it for long exposure. My landscape lenses. So my 16 or 18 to my 24 to 70. And in my 72 200 that's That's pretty much my kit of lenses. Um, if I look through my library, most of my stuff in the last few years has taken with a 24 to 70. It's ah, you know, portrait photographers. And it's more of a religious debate. You see a lot of you see a lot of people downing the 24 to 70 because it's kind of diss considered a block range of food. But it's all personal preference for for me, for landscape. And that's all I can speak to for me for landscaping outdoor. If I shoot the 16 or the 18 to 35 I go wide, what I do is is it ends up minimizing what's ever in the distance. And so you go to these places, you go to Mount Rainier, you goto clues. You go what, what all these places are and you get these beautiful backgrounds and then you go throw your 14 millimeter on or your 11 millimeter on or you're 60 millimeter on and you shoot wide and these gorgeous mountains air. Then this big in the back of the photo, and I noticed that about three or four years in my phone and my photography like, just as as your styles change, I just noticed that I was looking my photos. I wasn't happy with what I was seeing, Um, and I just I had my 24 to 70 and I started using that more, and I almost got to the fact to the part that if I can't fit it in the 24 to 70 don't shoot it every once in a while. You know, when I was in Yosemite a few weeks ago, I actually rented a 14 to 24 that was at the advice of a friend of mine. And he was dead on because you go to Yosemite and you've got such access to all these great peaks and cliffs and mountains and everything that you're so close to my. And there's nice four grounds that if you don't have a wine England, you'll never get the whole thing. You'll just have shots of peaks the whole time. So there are exceptions to it, but 16 35 24 to 70 is my is my personal go to lens and 70 8200 those air. Those of the range is there. You ever stitch a 24 do 24 frames together? I have. I have. That's That's a and that's a way to work around me. Switching to a wider angle lens is if I do see that scene that you can't fit in my 24. What kind of like, you know, take bottom. Left bottom, right top left top. Right. And I'll stitch those together and kind of create a almost a panorama from it, but it's actually you. Photoshopped will still create everybody thinks of a panorama as going across, But you can actually go across and down and across and down across the neutral stitch it together for you. So yeah, I definitely do that. How we, uh, some questions. Anybody online? Yeah, We have some gear questions. I notice you aren't using an L plate. Is that necessary? Yes. So an L plate? I have one. I don't know if I should admit this. So I have one that this is a d 8 10? Um, I had a what did I have a Ford? That I had a deep three and I, Condi three before this. And then before that, I had a d 300. I think the d could even be wrong. I think the D 200 was the last l plate that I bought, and they're so expensive that I refused to find you can Who camera. So what I do is is the L plates just screws in down here. I've been lucky in that. However the new cameras were built, it's still fit on it. It didn't fit good. It would. It would be cocky. But, I mean, I would take that. Alan, Kay and I I'm probably not doing any justice for myself today, but, you know, the I love really right stuff, by the way. But it's really expensive stuff and you buy one l plate and you don't want to buy another one for a few years. So So if you're my l plate at home, um is probably pretty old. I took it with me to Yosemite. In fact, somebody was teasing me about it because the it probably it was made for the battery grip on the D 300 a d 200. So it was made for a thicker camera and the l great probably like it's sticking out and everything, but it does the job. So, yes, I do occasionally use an el grip. What I'll say is, I personally don't shoot tall very much. All right, Um, when you think about today and where most of our images are are displayed and shown there displayed in a wide format. Okay, um, you know, back in the day, magazines and everything like that very, very different. But if you think about where we're sharing a lot of our images today, they're on our laptop, their honor ipads their honor phone there, displayed in a wide screen, some type of a widescreen format. So I generally shoot mostly landscape oriented photos. Um, if you're gonna if I think I'm gonna print something again if I'm in that scene and I'm thinking, Wow, this is this is great. I think I might print it that I always take a vertical shot because on the would kneel, vertical shots look great on the wall, so

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.