Tuesday, September 8, 2015

PhotoChallenge Long Exposure

Last week's official PhotoChallenge.org (Week 35) was to take a long exposure outdoors and attempt to add a "ghost" to it.  This was a fun challenge and forced me to try something new, but I had very mixed results with my outdoor shots.  In order to do this technique one must have the shutter open for at least 10 seconds.  In the daylight, even with my aperture as tiny as I could get it and an ISO of 100, I ended up with washed out white mess as a result--even on a very overcast day.  To really do this outside I discovered that you should use an ND filter which will darken the whole shot and let you have longer shutter speeds--also useful for taking pics of waterfalls.  I didn't have a chance to buy one, but I'll probably do so the next time I get to National Camera.  Another method would be to take this at night or dusk, but just about every evening I was free this week it was raining or very windy--causing motion blur of my background greenery.

I gave up and tried it indoors at the last minute.  I set up my tripod in the basement aimed at my bar, then sat down in the shot.  Starting with a glass of homebrew up to my lips, I triggered the remote for my camera and waited 5 seconds.  Then rapidly, I set down the beer and dove out of the shot…letting the last 5 seconds of the exposure tick down.  The result was pretty cool, but required several attempts to get it right.  My wife--calmly making jewelry at the nearby table--would just shake her head and continue to work.

The resulting picture was cool, but I wanted more style.  In Photoshop Elements I altered the hue to a sepia effect.  Then, to add more old-timey texture to the shot, I added a new and partially transparent layer of a shot of rust on a staircase that I took in North Carolina earlier this summer.

And the final effect is this:

A cool old-fashioned picture of ghostly me drinking at the bar!  So there you go, hopefully you like it.

Next week's challenge is to take a picture of a church or place of worship.  I've already been working on this one so stay tuned.

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