Some basic thoughts on long exposure shooting

One of the things I want to explore more is long exposure photography.
I think there are advantages doing this with film compared to digital capture. I guess there are some drawbacks too but for the moment I’m not aware of any.
When I shot long exposures with my Nikon D300 my images had high levels of background noise. I am talking about minutes.
This is due to the sensor heating up. The best way in dealing with this is using the Camera Long Exposure Noise Reduction. Then the camera will take a second exposure. It will do so with the shutter closed but it takes the same exposure time as the image you just took. Doing so the camera subtracts with it finds in this black exposure thus decreasing the noise.
Basically this means a 10’ long exposure would take in fact 20’. During the second exposure I can move my camera but not use it.

Olympus OM-1n with 35-70mm f4
Olympus OM-1n with 35-70mm f4

Surely this not a problem I’ll run into using an analogue camera.
The second advantage is in my opinion an important one.

Let’s say you are taking a long exposure at a rocky beach somewhere late afternoon. In order to obtain an exposure of 1 minute at ISO 100 you are using a 10 stop ND-filter. You are not that too happy as you wished for an even longer exposure.

Let’s say I am standing next to you, impatiently waiting to use your filter on my analogue camera loaded with a 100 ISO film.
While I’m waiting I check my iPhone and smile. Reciprocity Timer is a very useful app. Check it out.

With your 10 stop ND-filter and same ISO I get an exposure time of almost 7 minutes with no extra effort at all. And without wasting an extra 7 minutes for exposure noise reduction.

This is due to the reciprocity law or the inverse relationship between intensity and duration of light and the reaction of the light-sensitive material.
As for now I haven’t had the opportunity to do really long exposures with my analogue camera and the two examples in this post are a mere 10”.
Hope to do an extra post on this topic very soon.

Bath, The Netherlands Olympus OM-1n with 35-70mm f4
Bath, The Netherlands
Olympus OM-1n with 35-70mm f4

 

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