Long Exposures

One of the most interesting techniques in photography is to leave the shutter open and see what happens.

Generally speaking, this is not a midday activity, which is part of the reason why I like it. Long exposures work better when the sun has long passed its zenith, or has disappeared all together. Early morning, twilight, moonlight, overcast, indoors... these are great long exposure situations. 

I've been using a feature on my Olympus OM-D called Live Time for for these situations. I place the camera on a tripod and use my iPhone to control it. This is easy because the OM-D E-M10 has built-in WiFi that talks to the iOS app, Olympus Image Share.  

I line up the composition, activate the shutter release with the iPhone, then watch the image slowly come to life on the iPhone screen. When it looks the way I want, I tap the button again to close the shutter.  And the image is captured.

This is the closest thing I've experienced in digital photography to watching a photograph come to life in a tray of developer. I don't miss the chemical darkroom. But I do miss that moment of magic.

This sensation is amplified with the effect produced by the long exposure. Water becomes a foggy blanket draped across glistening rocks. Moving people dissolve from hard, edgy creatures to translucent ghosts. The world becomes a softer place when framed by long exposures. 

It's not that I despise the harsh light of reality. 

But sometimes I need a break from it.