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Long Exposure Shots

Fri May 11, 2012 4:17 am

Hey guys, I would like to try and experiment with some long exposure night shots of aircraft movements at my local airport but do not know where to start off. I was just wondering if anyone could help me out with settings and any other helpful tips. I do own a tripod if that helps and also I am using a Nikon D3100 w/ 18-55/55-300 set up.

Thanks in advance for your help  
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RE: Long Exposure Shots

Fri May 11, 2012 4:45 am

ISO 100/200, F7.1, shutter speed to get correct exposure.

The challenge is getting a stable camera and aircraft for the time you need. My camera has a maximum of a 30 second exposure so you can play with the ISO and f-stop if required. Perhaps start out 1 hour before sundown and get a handle on what light is available and locations where the aircraft are stopped for the time you need.

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RE: Long Exposure Shots

Fri May 11, 2012 5:01 am

Quoting jdando (Reply 1):
ISO 100/200, F7.1, shutter speed to get correct exposure.

Not to disagree with you (there's nothing wrong with what you said), but settings can vary quite a bit more than that. Of the two long exposure light-trail shots I have in the database, both were 8 seconds, but one was F14 at ISO100, and the other was F9 at ISO800.

I think what Eric is looking for is light-trail photos (though I'm not sure). If so, shutter speed may be a primary consideration.

For me, with the two aforementioned light-trail photos, I stopped down the aperture to "tame" the bright lights into looking like something other than blobs, and to have a large depth-of-field. Shutter speed was set to capture the light-trail I wanted. ISO was then selected to achieve a correct exposure.

But really, the only way to figure it out is to get out there and experiment!
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RE: Long Exposure Shots

Fri May 11, 2012 3:44 pm

If light trails are what you're after, I recommend using a cable release so you can hold the shutter down in Bulb mode as long as you want (with the camera on a tripod of course). This gives you the control to start and stop the trail at the desired position in the frame. Depending on how long you hold it open, you might need to stop down the aperture significantly. If you still have problems with overexposure even at the highest f-stops, a neutral density filter is a good idea to reduce the amount of light allowing for longer exposure times.

[Edited 2012-05-11 08:46:58]
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