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Less is sometimes more. When it comes to exposure time that is!

Hello everyone,

I left Vancouver and now heading back on a much anticipated roadtrip to the Canadian Prairies with the aim to photograph more of the vanishing historic grain elevators in Alberta and Sasketchewan.

I made this photograph near Lethbridge yesterday:

Image Details: Nikon D800e, 24mm Tilt/Shift Lens, Exposure 60 seconds @ F11

It was raining hard for most of the drive yesterday. When I got to this location, which I visited twice several years ago, I had a glimpse of hope that the rain would slow enough to allow me to setup my camera and take a shot. Sure enough after waiting for about 30 minutes, I was able to do so. Being from Vancouver I am used to working with an umbrella anyway :-)

The image was taken with an exposure time of 60 seconds at F11, using 13 stops of ND filtration. The clouds were moving fast, but did not have much definition. It was a very grey day overall. I made a few images using various exposure times, raging from 30 seconds to 8 minutes. After doing such an image series, I found that extending my exposure to beyond 1 minute resulted in much less defined skies. 

My students often ask me if 'longer is always better'. Well, in this particular case, you have an example where extending exposure time further results in less definition in the sky. With the clouds moving rapidly, exposing for several minutes will leave the sky 'blank' and grey. It was important for me to preserve at least some details in the clouds, so that's why I decided not to extend my exposure time further than 1 minute.

I will be in the area for the next 10 days, teaching a workshop and leading a photo-tour back-to-back. I will be posting more images from along the way.

Regards from Swift Current (SK),


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Reader Comments (1)

Is the final image single exposure, or you layered some of other images with different exposures to get the cloud texture (and dark areas in outer part of the fram)?

May 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArash

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