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New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎02-13-2019
Accepted Solution

Need some guidance

Hi all,
I’m completely new to photography and need a bit of help. I’m shooting on an EOS 600D. Love the camera, but there’s one thing I can’t figure out and it’s driving me crazy.
What settings do I need to have it set at to take long exposure photos without the photo just being a white screen. I’ve played with aperture and lens timing, but I just can’t seem to get it right.
I know it’s probably a very silly question, and I’m kinda expecting some smarta$$ remarks, which I guess I deserve to a point, but any useful replies or some guidance would be greatly appreciated and I would be very thankful.
Thanks in advance folks. Smiley Happy
Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,653
Registered: ‎11-13-2012

Re: Need some guidance

How long an exposure?  You probably need a neutral density filter. 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X, Rebel T5i, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LRCC Classic
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 4,925
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: Need some guidance

[ Edited ]

@Tank wrote:
Hi all,
I’m completely new to photography and need a bit of help. I’m shooting on an EOS 600D. Love the camera, but there’s one thing I can’t figure out and it’s driving me crazy.
What settings do I need to have it set at to take long exposure photos without the photo just being a white screen. I’ve played with aperture and lens timing, but I just can’t seem to get it right.
I know it’s probably a very silly question, and I’m kinda expecting some smarta$$ remarks, which I guess I deserve to a point, but any useful replies or some guidance would be greatly appreciated and I would be very thankful.
Thanks in advance folks. Smiley Happy

What do you mean by "long" in this context, and what lens (and what settings) are you using? One additional way to combat overexposure is to lower the ISO setting. But it would help to know what subjects you're trying to capture and in what lighting conditions.

 

Long exposures usually aren't necessary in the digital world. Do you mean really long, as in astro-photography? We have at least one astro-photography expert in the forum.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,281
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Need some guidance

You need to learn about the exposure triangle. Any particular scene has a combination of ISO, shutter and Aperture that produces a good exposure. If you change any one of the three, like shutter time in your case, you must compensate by adjusting the other two to keep the same exposure.

 

For example, if a shutter speed of 1/60 second and an aperture of f/4 and an ISO of 400 gives you a good exposure, in order to increase the shutter time to 1/30 you must at the same time you must increase the aperture to f/2.8 *or* the ISO to 200 in order to keep that exposure.

VIP
Posts: 11,004
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Need some guidance

" I need to have it set at to take long exposure photos without the photo just being a white screen."

 

A completely white screen is showing and extreme over exposure. A totally black screen on the other hand indicates an  extremely under exposed one. Make sense? You need to do whatever is necessary to get the exposure more correct.

What is it exactly you are trying to do? Nobody can tell you how if we do not know a lot more of the details. It is fine to tell you to just read some books about exposure but sometimes it is best to just show you how. More details!

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV, even less and less other stuff.
Highlighted
New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎02-13-2019

Re: Need some guidance

Hi Kudo,
By lone exposure I mean for example taking photos of a waterfall, and wanting everything but the water to be nice and highly detailed, but the scary going’s if he streets me.
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,281
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Need some guidance

I should have pointed out that the cameras Tv mode will do exactly this,You can set the shutterspeed and the camera will try to set everything else to get a good exposure.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,281
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Need some guidance

It is amazing what you can learn from the manual:

Untitled.jpg

Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,653
Registered: ‎11-13-2012

Re: Need some guidance

Here is an article for you:

 

Clipped from: https://digital-photography-school.com/4-tips-for-shooting-drop-dead-gorgeous-waterfalls/ 

Waterfalls are a very popular subject for landscape photographers. The draw to their natural beauty is clear, but sometimes coming home with the best shots is harder than you might think. As the curator for the Google+ Photography theme, #WaterfallWednesday I get asked how to take better pictures of waterfalls every week. So let me share some tips with you. 

  1. Your gear is good enough
    The first thing most people suggest you need in order to shoot waterfalls is a complete quiver of neutral density (ND) filters to get a long exposure. Forget that! Let’s start with a camera that can shoot on manual and a tripod. That’s all you need. The biggest problem with slapping a dark ND filter on your lens is still the sun. When it’s bright overhead, you have bright “hot spots” and dark shadows that don’t look great. The light is harsh and flat. The best thing to do is show up at sunrise and sunset. Waterfalls are often in deep canyons, so as long as the sun is behind the mountains with the whole waterfall in the shade, you can achieve a long exposure with nice even light. In fact, you can plan ahead to maximize this. If you think about it, if the waterfall you’re wanting to shoot is facing east, sunrise would not be the best time of day because it will catch the light right on the falls. So an east facing waterfall will be best shot in the late afternoon.
  2. Read the waterfall
    How long does the exposure actually need to be? I think the answer varies like people’s taste in fast food. Personally I categorize waterfalls into two different categories. There are the falls that rage with so much water they take your breath away. The others are dainty and delicate. So keeping in mind I don’t want the waterfall to be a detail-less blob of white water, you need to set the exposure appropriately.

This waterfall was very full and the light was low. At 1.6 seconds, I let this exposure go too long leaving the water without details. 

 

On Manual, I usually start with the slowest ISO my camera can go, 100. Then I set my aperture small enough to maximize focus, usually around f/8 to f/10. Then I see what kinds of shutter speeds that nets. 

For the big falls, I try to keep my exposure under a second. Anything between ¼ to a full second will show the water’s motion and still retain all the detail in that movement. 

Small stringy waterfalls just love putting on a show with longer exposures. These shots look great when you can go as long as possible. Don’t be afraid of the small aperture police who say you will lose sharpness. Photography is always about compromises and in this case, the slightest loss in sharpness only visible when viewed at 200% is greatly outweighed by capturing the water’s movement. Don’t be afraid to use f/22 if you need it. I try to shoot for exposures 1-4 seconds long at these kinds of waterfalls. 

You probably will also want a neutral density filter to cut down on the light entering the lens. At a slow shutter speed you may not be able to stop down enough to avoid overexposure.

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X, Rebel T5i, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LRCC Classic
Valued Contributor
Posts: 419
Registered: ‎10-18-2016

Re: Need some guidance

[ Edited ]

There are three variable elements of a camera that you can control - the "Holy Trinity" of exposure, so to speak... The aperture, shutter and ISO.   If you want to take long exposures then you first set the ISO to its lowest setting - that makes the sensor very slow to react to light.  Now set the aperture to its highest setting that lets in light as the slowest rate, and finally set the shutter speed to the slowest you can manage - setting the camera to Av mode would do that for you.  If you want exposues so slow that they are over-exposed you will need to invest in a Neutral Density filter.  That is a filter that reduced the amount of light coming into the lens - the degree of such reduction is usually measured in stops, so if you want something really slow you might want to look at an 8 to 1-10 stop filter.

 

EDIT - I just saw your comment about wanting to shoot water falls.  Unless you are in very bright lighting conditions you should be able to get away with low ISO and fairly high f value.  I shoot waterfalls at around 0.25 to 0.5 seconds.

 

NZ Auckland Muriwai Mokoria Falls 3.jpgthis exposure was timed at about 1/3sec.

 

NZ Auckland Piha KareKare Falls LoRes.jpg

This is at 1/4sec.

 

If you want to upgrade your photography skills go to  your local library website and look in the catalogue for Lynda.com you may be lucky enough to find a listing for it. In that case you will have free access to one of the best video tutorial websites I know.  If you click on the listing you will go to a sign-in page where you input  your liibrary ID and passord and you're good to go.  There are excellent videos on all aspects of photography from the most basic to very advanced. and you will get a lot of good information from excellent professional teachers.  If you don't have free access via your library, you can go to Lynda.com and sign up for a free month's trial access without commitment.  It's definitely worth the effort.  I would suggest doing a search for Ben Long or Photography Foundations, and you will find a host of courses.

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy
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