Friday, December 6, 2013

Providence at Night: Long Exposure Images

One of our class assignments was to photograph a busy intersection at night. Living in the 'burbs, this required a field trip into Providence while the grandparents were visiting.

Providence at Night - Flotsam of the Mind

The trick to this kind of shot is to use a tripod and set your camera for a long exposure. I set the shutter speed for 20-30 seconds. While it should have been obvious, I struggled at first with getting the exposure correct. Remember to use your in-camera meter to determine the proper aperture for this light and shutter speed.

Be sure that you have several vehicles poised to drive through your frame. A single set of lights doesn't create a very dramatic effect. I also tried to time the image so that no vehicles were stopped at the light for very long during the shot. A car that sits still for a portion of the time will appear as a ghostly image, and I preferred the shots where no cars--only their lights--were visible.

First Unitarian Church of Providence at Night - Flotsam of the Mind

Most nighttime long exposure images I've seen are in color to show the red, yellow, and white lights of the moving cars. I prefer this image of the First Unitarian Church of Providence in black and white because the church lights appear to glow. The car lights provide an extra glow, as if huge fireflies were circling the building.

What do you think? Color image or black and white image? Have you tried any of these with success? If so, share one on the Facebook page.

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