Long Exposures

by William Lulow

I wrote a piece a while back about long exposures and how they can be useful when shooting interiors. Here is another example. This image was made with a view camera and several strobe lights set up at various key spots to illuminate certain parts of the scene. The idea is that with a long exposure, anyone in the scene who was moving fairly quickly would disappear – not standing still long enough for the exposure to record them. There are a couple of people in the scene who were in the same place long enough for the film to record them partially. But, basically, the scene is free of people. Wherever there is a blur, that’s a person who was not moving very fast. My instructions to the people working this venue was simply to keep moving.

EJCORVETTEAtrium(1)WEB This technique works just as well digitally as it did on film. I used a neutral density filter to cut down enough light so that I could stop the lens down to f/22 or f/32 and increase my exposure time to 5 minutes or longer. I like to use the strobes to light up certain parts of the scene. With the increased sensitivity of today’s digital sensors, you could probably make an image like this one without the need for any flash. The auto white balance would make up for most of the color shifts. But to make a busy place look empty, you would still need to use a long exposure. Neutral density filters come in various degrees and there’s nothing like shooting a scene like this at ISO 100!