The equipment we use as photographers is of course important, but the final image is what’s it’s all about, right? Our
“In Action” page is the place where we’ll talk a bit more about the process of using the equipment we recommend and sell, and actually taking pictures. Perhaps we’ll show you how some of our friends and customers use their gear, and the images which result from it, or we’ll talk about how to accomplish a particular effect or style. If you have a suggestion you’d like to see featured on this page, drop us an email.

In Action

So Long, Reciprocity!

    Back in the days of shooting film, there was a lot to think about if you wanted to do long exposures, especially if you wanted to go longer than a couple of seconds. Most of the time, just figuring out what the exposure should be was the hardest part, with meters rarely measuring in that realm and of course the problem of reciprocity failure.


    Thankfully, digital technology moves us past the reciprocity issues, but also introduces a new set of challenges. Personally, I think these new challenges are much easier to deal with, but challenges nonetheless. The immediate feedback we receive from our digital cameras is something I think we’re all starting to take for granted, but it’s really a pretty significant advantage, especially when you don’t know what the exposure should be for long exposures.

By far the most significant obstacle in digital long exposures is the occurrence of noise, so how do we limit that & make aesthetically pleasing photographs? In much the same way as shooting film, we need to concentrate on keeping the ISO as low as possible, and limiting the exposure length as well. If you can accomplish the same photograph with ten seconds at f/8, why shoot 40 seconds at f/16? (unless, of course, your lens’ sweet spot is f/16).  Point being, think about your particular combination of variables &  develop an exposure that makes the most sense. From there, it’s still a game of trial & error, but the immediate feedback will guide you through the creative process to beautiful night photography.

    Of course certain digital cameras are more adept at long exposures than others, and it’s important to understand the limitations of your equipment. Phase One’s P45+, for example, is one
of the best long exposure cameras on the market today, with exposures of up to about an hour possible. In contrast, however, there are others that reach their limit at only a couple of seconds.

    Having the right tool for the job is always important, but especially when you plan on pushing the limits of technology.  Attempting to create aesthetically pleasing images that your camera isn’t good at creating will just leave you unsatisfied, so if night photography is on your to-do list, make sure you put some thought into the tools you’ll be using.  •



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In Action

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