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Breaking any rule of photography!
Ingo The Flamingo - Behind the seen!
Long-time exposures during the day goes against any rule of photography. Daytime requires short-time exposures. Particularly in Miami with bright sunshine year-round. Short-time exposure freezes the action and allows for shorter depth of field. But long-time exposure takes moving objects and substances and make them mystical. Water becomes like a low-lying fog. Clouds lose their definition.
FLOW features the Atlantic Ocean interacting with the sun, captured at certain
times of day. The Fine Art photographs compress the flow and energy of the ocean. Using long-time
exposure, you can turn almost any scene into a creation of someone's
imagination. To get that misty look in water and to capture the FLOW of the
ocean, you will need a shutter speed of 1 minute or more. The photograph FLOW 3 below had a shutter speed of more than 1 minute.
Equipment - The Neutral Density Filter
A few basic tools are needed to capture these stunning fine art photographs. The most important equipment for long-time exposure during daylight is a neutral density filter, which are like sunglasses for cameras. At daytime, the sunlight is your worse enemy. Harsh lighting in the middle of the day tends to be the worst time for taking photos. The sun is bright, and you will need a filter with at least six stops of light reduction, preferably ten stops. Ten stops will allow you to accomplish an up to five-minute exposure in broad daylight, on a sunny day in Miami Beach during summer maybe less of course. If your filter isn't strong enough, you will not be able to capture the flow of Miami Beach’s famous tropical Atlantic Ocean.
Equipment - The Tripod
A tripod is not optional and is as mandatory and as important as the density filter. The flow of the ocean, the waves going back and forth, the moving clouds driven by wind; you want to capture all these moving elements for at least one minute or longer in one stunning Fine Art photograph, without shaking the camera. While shooting the incoming waves, you will notice that your tripod has a tendency to sink in the wet sand. In order to prevent this, push your tripod legs 5 inches down into the wet sand and this will give you a stable platform for those long-time exposures.
Camera Setting - The Shutter Speed
Long-time exposure during the day and bright sunshine requires a little bit of math. The lens metering system does not work through the neutral density filter. You will have to determine the exposure by metering without the filter and adjusting the shutter speed by the number of stops your filter blocks. If your camera meters the scene for 1/15 of a second, you will need to count down to the correct shutter speed from there. If your filter blocks one stop, your shutter speed will be 1/8 of a second, or the next slowest setting. If your filter blocks two stops, your shutter speed will be 1/4 of a second, or two settings slower than the original 1/15. For a ten-stop filter, you will need to go all the way down to 1 minute.
Camera Setting - ISO
It is recommended using the lowest ISO setting on your camera, with the smallest aperture your camera and lens allows. This setting lets in the smallest amount of light possible, which is what you want when using a long-time exposure at daylight. The smallest amount of light possible provides you with the most flexibility of shutter speed, adjusted to the flow and strength of the ocean and the intervals the waves come in.
Capturing the FLOW of the ocean requires above thirty second and it is recommended to use a remote to capture long-time exposures during daylight.
You have to be Lucky!
But much more important than the equipment you need, the camera setting recommended to use, is the location and the weather condition. I have been living in Miami Beach for over six years now, right at the beach and have been at the beach with all my equipment set up early in the morning, sometimes at 5.00 am in the morning. But all this effort does not guaranty the perfect shot. You have to be lucky. The beach and the ocean has never been the same. The timing of when you actually trigger the shot is important. Personally, I find I get the best results when a wave has come up the beach, paused at the top, and is starting to flow back out.
The truth is, you will never know exactly what your image is going to look like until you see it on your computer screen at home. But the good news is that you're very likely to be impressed by some of the images you create this way.
And the most important…
And even more important than the final image, you always have a pleasant time being out at the ocean, watching the horizon, breathing the sea breath, watching people around you even early in the morning. It’s just a great experience being out there enjoying the beauty of our world!
Try it yourself and I can promise, you will not regret it.