The Long Way

In Inspiration, Landscapes
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Lately, I’ve been fascinated by long exposures. The way the waterfall turns into a dreamy fog, how the landscape blurs into abstraction as you watch from the passenger side window.

This style of photography does not come easy for me, however. I’m not great at sitting still waiting for the exposure and I certainly don’t love lugging my tripod and heavy gear all over. Setting up, making tiny adjustments, waiting for minutes before I can see the results before making even more adjustments. It’s been an exercise to test my patience.

But the results are always worth it.

I recently came across a photographer that makes a lot of long exposure photographs, Scott Reither, and I was curious about his approach so I did a little reading on his website to understand more about his technique. That reading lead me to my latest gear acquisition, a 10-stop neutral density filter. It allowed me to take a multiple second exposure even at high noon on a very sunny day like the one above.

If you’re not interested in investing in the gear, most phone cameras can make long exposures, either with the native camera functions or with an app. During the last year, I spent a lot of time teaching my students about phone photography because we didn’t have access to the shared cameras in my classroom. One amazing feature that I discovered during that time is how to use my iPhone in Live Capture Mode. It takes a short snippet of video that you can then alter from your photo roll. If you swipe up on a photo taken in Live Mode, you get new options. Of the effects available, one is long exposure.

The difference in the effect versus the original still image is a great mimic of what you can do with the larger cameras and longer exposure times.

I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment and frustration with this new method and I certainly haven’t mastered the art of timing my exposures just right yet, but I’m having fun trying new techniques and working on being more patient. The long way is always rewarding. –Angie


  1. Thank you for that iphone tip! I hadn’t known that feature existed. Will definitely try it out, as often I’d rather take no picture at all than one with the phone. Hopefully that’ll change now 🙂

  2. Angie, I am endlessly inspired by your willingness to stretch and grow your skills. Endlessly! I’ve wanted to mess around with long exposure for ages, thank you so much for the tip about the phone, toe in the water, way into them.

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