Shoot Lengthy Exposures in a Stream with No Tripod

5 min


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You are trekking throughout Scotland and also you come as much as a waterfall that is screaming to be photographed. In your thoughts, you already know you need that stunning, streaky, long-exposure water. As luck would have it, you are hungry, shaky, and your tripod is having fun with a time off in your Airbnb. What’s subsequent?

First, let me be trustworthy. I did not overlook my tripod. It was our seventh day of mountaineering across the UK and I used to be sick of carrying it. Together with it, I left my distant set off, something to relaxation my digital camera on, my ND filter, and (large shock) my waterproof mountaineering boots. Who wants all that when your solely plan for the afternoon is to go see a waterfall?

Luckily, a little bit quick pondering and a variety of luck left me with an excellent shot regardless of my lack of preparedness.

The Problem

There are many articles on lengthy exposures, so I will not dwell on the settings, however I knew I wished to go away the shutter open for at the very least two seconds. I additionally wished to be down within the stream to get water dashing throughout my body. These two issues imply that I can neither handhold my digital camera (too shaky) nor set it on a steady floor (moist rocks are slippery!).

Gear Issues

Usually talking, I imagine you could get an excellent shot whatever the gear in your palms, however typically you simply want all the assistance you will get. Earlier than this journey, I wished to get a 16-35mm lens, however was torn between the Canon 16-35 f/2.8L II and the Canon 16-35 f/4L IS. Since I primarily shoot with studio lighting in my skilled work, the additional cease with the f/2.eight wasn’t an enormous promoting level for me. I made a decision that the picture stabilization within the f/four can be extra helpful since I do occasional video tasks and like that added fluidity.

If you end up in a tripod-less state of affairs, a stabilized lens is a lifesaver. Canon says it reduces digital camera shake by as much as 4 stops of shutter pace, and I imagine it. Additionally, should you’re in a stream, the climate sealing on the L-series lenses is a useful bonus.

Get as Secure as Potential

To attenuate shake, I wanted to relaxation the digital camera physique in opposition to one thing. On the similar time, I knew I could not let go as a result of I wished to make use of my digital camera for the remainder of my journey. So, I discovered a flat-ish rock on a sandbar sticking up out of the water and set one fringe of the digital camera on it. I put the digital camera strap round my neck and pulled again to create pressure, then pressed the digital camera down with my palms to behave as a weight. That counterbalance made for a way more steady shot than attempting to easily maintain the digital camera in opposition to the rock.

Dwell View

In that place, I could not see by way of the viewfinder to focus. Getting my shutter pace right down to 2.5 seconds meant dropping my ISO right down to 50 and tightening my aperture to f/22, so I had a little bit wiggle room by way of depth of area. Nonetheless, I wished that rock within the foreground to be crisp since it might be the simplest approach for me to inform if I had any digital camera shake in any respect.

I converted to Dwell View and dialed in focus manually at 10x zoom. The added perk right here is that the mirror is already locked up, so while you take a shot, solely the shutter strikes and there’s no mirror slap. This dramatically reduces the quantity of motion within the digital camera and offers you a significantly better likelihood of conserving your picture regular.

Breathe

Capturing like this requires a variety of focus. Each motion can probably damage your shot, so it’s important to be conscious of every little thing your physique is doing. Decelerate your respiratory, attempt to get your coronary heart fee down. Preserve your finger mild on the shutter launch button and squeeze gently. As you exhale, depress the shutter button proper at finish of your breath and let your physique keep nonetheless whereas the picture exposes.

The Outcomes

I used to be capable of get 5 photographs off earlier than a gaggle of individuals crossed by way of my body and stayed longer than we did. 4 of these 5 are freed from digital camera shake, and one is a 12″x18″ print in my studio’s dressing room. It seems nice even underneath shut scrutiny, so I name it a win!

On the finish of the day, it is all the time finest to be ready and have a tripod for this type of shot. For me, although, I a lot favor the story of a 2.5-second mid-stream publicity with the digital camera in my palms. It sounds approach higher after I inform it in individual.



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