Life, Learning and the Photos taken in between.

Late Night Long Exposure

Yesterday was a beautiful March day in NYC, the climate was about 70 degrees and sunny with everyone out enjoying the weather. I wont lie and say I seized the day and took full advantage of this warm weather by shooting. I stayed in bed for the most part of the day because my model for the day flaked on me (you know who you are) and I was looking for a new subject to shoot for the day. Safe to say I didn’t find anyone within the time frames I needed so I pretty much was just gonna stay in and catch up on some work that I let pile up. Around 3pm I received a phone call from Toy (good friend) asking me what I was doing for the day and that call was exactly what I needed to get off my ass. I took a ride to his area in The Bronx to get some portrait shots before we took a trip down to the city. Those photos will be in my next blog if I ever get around to them.

We decided to go down to Union Square where there are enough faces to capture and always something interesting going on. I met up with a few local skaters while down there, two of which I used as my subjects for today’s blog. Since I had all of my equipment, lights and flashes with me from the earlier shoot I wanted to try a few shots that I had in my head  for a while.  I took a shot at long exposure once before and I fell in lll, fell in lllll, damn I can’t bring my self to drop the L bomb so lets just say REALLY LIKED how the shot came out. I liked it so much that I used one of the images for my business card. If you havent seen that shoot check out the Fall in Central Park 2010 blog. By the time I set up my equipment and finished my 1st beer of the night, I had already lost all of the ambient light which gave way for some really cool light trails from the cars in the street.

I took a few test shots to get the correct settings dialed into my Nikon D90 so I could get this shot right the 1st time. What I was doing different this time around was using flash during the long exposure. I didn’t know if the flash would have much of an impact since the shutter would be open for so long but it was worth a try. For the 1st shot I dialed in an aperture of F/22 and a shutter of 3 seconds and since the ambient light was basically non existent I bumped up the ISO to 1250. The good and the bad of a higher ISO (sensor sensitivity to light) is that the photo does come out brighter however Digital Noise becomes more visible. When using a model during long exposure you need to 1) make  sure you have something to hold your camera without any movement. I don’t care how steady your hand is, you will not be able to hold your camera completely still for 3 seconds. Any movement will give motion blur and therefore leave the shot out of focus. I did not have my tripod with me today so I mounted the camera on my flash stand. 2) Make sure your model stays as still as possible to make the effect that much cooler. I set up my Sb-600 with Impact shoot through umbrella to camera right about 45 degrees from the subject and just waited for the cars to come by. Since the shutter is open for so long the moving cars will not be captured but the trails from the head and tail lights create a pretty sweet effect to the image.

Jordan Baez – Union Square, NYC. 2011

Evan Grimball – Union Square, NYC. 2011

This photo is a late entry but an great entry none the less. I had the pleasure of shooting Christie during her trip from Queens to the Bronx. Unfortunately by the time we finally linked up the sun had basically set and all of the natural light was gone. We found a location over the Cross Bronx Expressway where I could set up the equipment and get some shots. This was my favorite of this shoot , taken at F/22 ISO 1000 and a 3 second shutter.

I’m pretty satisfied with the outcome of the shots, It’s definitely the look I was going for. I think the pics came out great “and that’s the bottom line because Stone Cold said so!” Once the weather gets a little better I will dedicate a full day to long exposure and see what I can get from that. Before I get out of here, there was a shot that I had in mind since I first started shooting, It’s a very simple yet not so simple shot. I had the opportunity to shoot it last night and im pretty hyped at the outcome. Check it out and if you have any feedback please feel free to comment below.

Evan Grimball – Fishbrain. Union Square, NYC.

Until Next Time.



4 responses

  1. Fantastic night pics and most thanks for the tips.

    March 19, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    • Jo0se

      No Problem, it’s all for the love.

      March 22, 2011 at 6:23 am

  2. Kat

    Love all the shots 😉

    March 20, 2011 at 2:45 am

  3. clarii


    March 20, 2011 at 7:13 am

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