Capturing Time in Photography With Long and Short Exposure
- By: Luis Argerich
A long exposure can be used in photography to capture the effect of time on an image, moving objects such as clouds and water will create an almost unpredictable abstract effect. Long exposures can be used to remove unwanted detail from an image smoothing details that might distract the viewer from what you want them to see.
A short exposure on the other hand captures an instant of time, something that happened on a fraction of a second.
A good way to capture time in a photo is to combine both a short and a long exposure.
In this photo a long exposure was made for the “arc” of water but on that photo the splash of water was lost. So a short exposure was taken and then both photos were digitally combined to make them a single image. The result shows both the effect of the long exposure and the splash of water at the same time.
Coastal landscapes with waves are a great example for this technique as you can capture the instant waves splash rocks and at the same time smooth the water to create a foam-like dreamy atmosphere. Try it.
Using any photo-editing software such as Gimp or Photoshop you can load the long and short exposures as layers and using a mask brush in and out the parts that you like from each photo.
You can capture both an instant and the pass of time at the same time in a single photo, the possibilities are endless!