Using Long Exposure to Photograph Water

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The long exposure technique can yield a memorable photograph, especially when flowing waters are included in the frame. In this video, professional photographer and editor Tony Sweet takes you to Edisto Island along the South Carolina coastline for tips on capturing dramatic images through the long exposure. You will learn how to shoot multi-second exposures, how to level the horizon line, why ND filters work best, how to create the mirror technique with rolling ocean waves, and how to use creative water lines to improve your compositions. Tony will also take you into post production for suggestions on how to edit your long exposure images for dramatic results.

The day is cloudy, the ocean at high tide. Tony sets up his tripod along the beach. Using the long exposure, he captures what the locals call the boneyard, bare trees stuck out in the ocean caused by beach erosion. Using various neutral density filters, he shoots at multi second interludes at a high f stop. The result? The waves turn creamy and smooth while the dark, bare trees remain stationary. He then shows you how to shoot various wave formations in the horizontal and vertical formats.

Tony takes you into his post production suite where he makes editing adjustments to his images. Because the day was gray and the skies cloudy, the photographs came out evenly lighted. These problems can be fixed with proper editing. You will learn how to add contrast for depth, darken the skies to bring out details, and make white balance adjustments to bring out your color and tone preferences. He even shows you what he calls messing around, experimenting with vignetting and tonal range to add drama. Travel to the shores of South Carolina with pro shooter and editor Tony Sweet as he guides you through the complete process of shooting long exposure photography.

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