There are pictures you’re able to capture because you’re in the right place at the right time, armed with your camera. Then, there are those which require pre-planning, the right equipment, and in some cases at bit of athletic prowess. This Long-Exposure Shot taken at Montgomery Bell State Park in Tennessee required a mix of all the latter.
Setting up the shot
This wasn’t a get out of your car, set your tripod on your car hood and start shooting. Nor, was it a “hmmm, there’s a cool stream, let’s bust out the ole iphone and throw it in Portrait Mode.” No, you had to earn this shot! And, while I’m not one to brag, I must say, getting down to the stream took the sure-footed-ness of a mule and jackel-like nimbleness. Ducking thorn bushes, decending algae-covered limestone rocks, and avoiding the gushing water were just the beginning.
Pre-planning the composition
I had to get this shot in the spring, so water flow was in abundance. I preferred a blue sky with some strategically placed clouds. Of course I didn’t place the clouds there, someone of greater importance then I did, but you catch my drift.
I had to use the shadows to my advantage, I wanted them to complement the photo, rather than overtake it. Being down in this hollow, meant I needed to time the shadows perfectly, to give the photo some intensity. Patience was a virtue, and most certainly a necessity. When the clouds are in constant motion and you’re exposing the shot for 28 seconds, you have to have the patience of a sniper and be willing to accept lots of surprises.
Ideal Camera angle.
I wanted to get the shot from the lowest point available, looking up the hollow with a very broad depth of field. This required my very best, truncated warrior pose, and the balance of a high-wire trapeze artist. Balancing on a thin slab of slippery limestone, while the water rushes around my feet, produced copious amounts of anxiety. Truth be told, my yoga skills and flexibility are sub-par at best. Thankfully, my Canon 5D mark iii, stayed dry and it’s versatility helped make up for my lack of yoga skills. And fortunately, because of my Manfrotto tripod, I had a good solid foundation, which is exactly what kept me from dunking my camera in the rushing 65-degree water.
I love Long-Exposure Photography. It’s not just the gratification from the end result, but it’s the adventure it takes to accomplish the end result. Let me know if you have questions about your Long-Exposure Photography.
Equipment I used to capture this picture:
If you wanna check out other great Long-Exposure photography, check out Alex Nail’s site who won the International Landscape Photographer of the Year in 2017.