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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Clouds "Long Exposure"...Hi, I really want to take shots of clouds i have seen which have been taken with a long exposure, ...
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Old 09-03-2010, 23:09   #1 (permalink)
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Clouds "Long Exposure"

Hi,

I really want to take shots of clouds i have seen which have been taken with a long exposure, the effect is a "Cloud Trail"

How can i achieve this as when i use a slow shutter speed at night to get a traffic trail it;s fine but it just makes the cloud trail to light.

I am aware of long exposure and have some great Traffic trail shots but am a little stuck with the clouds..
Any ideas... Regards
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Old 09-03-2010, 23:25   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Clouds "Long Exposure"

No tried this myself, but off the top of my head maybe a very dark neutral density filter might be the way to go.

Something like this

http://www.pixalo.com/community/news...tml#post299122

Orangepeel uses a B&W 10 stop filter so he might be able to help more.
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:59   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Clouds "Long Exposure"

I'm assuming it's this sort of thing you mean: -



It's not very good I know but I've not been out hunting for this effect specifically but I did notice the conditions that caused them. A B+W 110 ND was used for this.

What you want is fast moving clouds. Also, if they are moving towards you it helps as well. You probably also want lots of blue sky too otherwise it'd end up as a grey blur.

As Dab said, a 110 is effective but there are other ways - cheaper ways.


The Cheaper Way
The cheap way without any filters is to setup your camera on a tripod* and take a series of "normal" exposures. Say 1 every 5-10 seconds over a minute.

You then stack these in Photoshop and adjust the opacity for each layer. The link at the end gives you the formula to calculate what the opacity should be, but I've also done an easy to read table here.

This is called "Image Averaging". Not only does it kill any noise but also blurs any movement between the frames. It'd give you the movement in the clouds you are looking for.

Note. Your tripod HAS to be rock solid. The technique really doesn't work if there is any movement. Ideally you'd use a remote too.

Noise Reduction By Image Averaging




*Not negotiable
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Old 10-03-2010, 21:23   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Clouds "Long Exposure"

Hi, thank you both. I like the cheaper option but i have just got CS3 and i am struggling to use and undrstand it. If you are about this evening i have a question about making my background black on a smoke trail shot i did but it will only look good if i can get the backgroung black i read it is Lvels but i cant seem to find that option.
Anyway thnx again..
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Old 10-03-2010, 21:24   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Clouds "Long Exposure"

And your image is what i mean and it;s a lovely shot
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Old 10-03-2010, 22:16   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Clouds "Long Exposure"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arras View Post
i read it is Lvels but i cant seem to find that option.
Anyway thnx again..
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Old 13-03-2010, 21:01   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Clouds "Long Exposure"

It's a great shot Orangepeel. Certainly something I would like to try one day.
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Old 08-01-2012, 23:15   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Clouds "Long Exposure"

Hi peeps. long time no see

I keep getting hits on my site from this page. Just a heads up - I've created and updated a tutorial for this - long exposure with no filters...

happy new year.

peel.
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Old 08-01-2012, 23:20   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Clouds "Long Exposure"

Nice to see you on the forums OP
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Old 09-01-2012, 11:18   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Clouds "Long Exposure"

A while ago, I tried using an R72 IR filter and found that because my camera was not very sensitive to IR, the exposures times in bright sun were around 30 seconds. This produced the effect that you were seeking in that clouds are smeared by movement (so is foliage). I actually did not like this effect which I considered spoilt the photographs; I wanted clear sharp IR landscapes. I solved it by converting my camera to IR so can now use normal exposures. However, it is clearly easy to create this effect by using a strong ND filter and Orangepeel has provided some excellent tips for getting the best results.
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Old 09-01-2012, 14:50   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Clouds "Long Exposure"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dabhand16 View Post
Nice to see you on the forums OP
Cheers fella.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Canon View Post
However, it is clearly easy to create this effect by using a strong ND filter
actually the point was to do long exposures WITHOUT filters. the ten stop filters are insanely expensive - around the 100 mark! Even good quality grad filters are pretty expensive - mine where 250... (including the holder and rings) - plus an extra 60 I blew on cheap and nasty filters before I knew any better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Canon View Post
This produced the effect that you were seeking in that clouds are smeared by movement (so is foliage). I actually did not like this effect which I considered spoilt the photographs;
I'll grant foliage doesn't look great on a long exposure. I use the technique almost exclusively for seascapes - the pro of the ultra low noise is just awesome and gives you stunningly clean prints.

However there is no reason you couldn't use the exact same technique on static shoots - for low noise - or just as a blurring technique for any movement.

Unlike a tradition long exposure though, you've still got the individual frames which allows you to pull out an object you don't want to move - e.g. the moon, or a single person in the frame etc...
Or maybe a better example for you might be a river going through trees. You can use the technique to blur the river but still have the individual frames to choose from to keep the foliage static. obviously you would loose the low noise benefits where you just use the single frame for the foliage.



HOMEWORK!
Here is a quick experiment to test the noise -

Take say 10 frames from your tripod - point it at anything, set up beside you, point it at your computer - it doesn't matter what u shoot.

Now underexpose your shot and use a high iso too just for fun. - we're trying to produce something that normally you'd just delete.

Use a remote if possible - u really shouldn't touch the camera between frames - just like a normal long exposure.

OK, what you have is ten frames u might as well bin only kidding.

Load them into whatever RAW processing software you use and adjust the levels to bring things back to how they should be

have a pixel peep - gawp at the horrible noise but don't worry about it


Now you want to stack all the frames into one document - as per the tut.
Set the opacities of the layers - again as per the tut.

Now once that's done have a good pixel peep again - pay attention to the dark areas where the noise was really bad.

I won't be held responsible for any jaws hitting the desk.
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Old 10-01-2012, 00:20   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Clouds "Long Exposure"

Thanks OP for a great new year go out and do it tip. Good to hear that your still on top of things. Thanks again.
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