November 6, 2011

Use long exposures (and a tripod) for beautiful backgrounds and landscapes

The photo at the top of this week’s post is a mistake.

A glorious, wonderful mistake that taught me a whole lot about taking a better photo. My family really gets into Hallowe’en (ok, ok I really get into Hallowe’en), and at the end of every year I take a picture of what we’ve created.

The problem is this – it’s dark at 9pm, even with a bunch of strobe lights swirling around to light up tombstones. Now, both you and I know that if you open the shutter for a long time – half a second, one second, even longer – you’ll get more light into the camera. The light can look amazing (check out the street lights in the background). Try this out for fireworks

Here’s what you need to do:

Get a tripod.
Get a real tripod or use something stable – a table, a beanbag, whatever – and put your camera on it.

Open up the shutter.
The longer your shutter is open, the more light you get into the shot. So if there are lights around, you know they’ll show up in the shot. The only thing to remember is that your camera will record everything it sees. If your subject moves, your camera will show the motion.

Turn on your countdown timer.
If you press the shutter, there’s a good chance you’ll subtly shake the camera and that can make some of your photo look blurry. Instead, turn on your timer, press the shutter and stand back (or jump into the shot like I did!).

When I originally took this shot, I was using shorter exposures and it didn’t look quite right. Everything was dark and weird. I bumped my shutter speed by mistake and it opened the shutter for a full four seconds. I was blown away by the mistake.

I did two more things to make the photo up above. Stay tuned and I’ll share it in the next post.

What amazing things can you do with your technology? Share your story at Intel Canada’s Facebook page where Intel’s working to create a better future with next-generation technology.

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