This past week I had the opportunity to go on the Columbus Night’s Photo Walk led by Aaron Sheldon. For having rained all day, it was a surprisingly great turn out with about 10-15 people or so. I was excited and nervous to be shooting long exposures with a 10-stop ND Lee Big Stopper filter and a Nikon D610 with 17-35mm lens. I knew my exposure times would be guesses and all I could do was hope for the best.
The evening started off with rooftop shooting on the Nationwide parking garage. I started off the evening without the neutral density filter due to some issues I was having using the tripod and the small window I had to shoot before moving on to the next location. Ideally, I would have liked to have 5-10 minute exposures. With a 15-minute time frame at each location, this was difficult to achieve with guessing proper settings and exposures.
As the night went on, I figured I’d try the Lee Big Stopper and catch up to the group later. I ended up with a few good light-streaking shots that I was really excited about.
My first shot I was happy with was across the street from the Statehouse and the Columbus Dispatch sign. After a few exposure tries, I was able to get this one at f/4.5, 41 seconds, at ISO 200. This was definitely one of my favorite shots of the evening.
After that, we walked over to the Statehouse side, which is where I got this shot of a church and light streaking from cars going by. Although it was shot at 110 seconds, it was still underexposed. Ideally, I would have had a higher ISO and about 60 seconds longer of an exposure.
The last image I took of the evening was on a walkway, towards the end of the photo walk. The Clippers baseball game had just let out and we were on a walkway above the street shooting out. I was pleasantly surprised at this attempt as it was my first exposure attempt in this location. I was able to get several cars, including one pulling out of a parking spot, passing through underneath us. This shot was taken at f/2.8, 67 seconds, and ISO 400.
Being only the second time using a neutral density filter I found myself getting frustrated with long exposures not turning out properly. This one scene I set up looking over the city was taken at 9 minutes and it was still underexposed. Had I not been with a group and constantly moving locations, I would have gotten more time to get the right exposure. When shooting with neutral density filters, make sure you give yourself enough time to get the image, and take risks!
I was able to get some images while zooming in and out while the camera was exposing the image to get a neat zoom effect. However, I did not get a chance to try this with the filter.
Determined to get a better shot, I took the D610 out with the Lee filter the next evening to see if I could get a better shot. Living near Uptown Westerville, I thought it was a perfect idea to stop and shoot for a few minutes. Right away, I was able to get a shot within 10 minutes. After using the filter for a few days, I got used to the long exposures and using the tripod more. This image was taken at f/3.5 at 318 seconds and ISO 640.
I hope to take the filter out again and experiment with long exposures more. Seeing as I mainly shot the light streaking cars, I’d like to experiment using a model or using a lake on a cloudy or rainy day.