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The Best Slower Shutter Photographs

The Best Slower Shutter Photographs

Some of the best slow shutter, long exposure shots of light graffiti, light painting, nocturnal scenes and astronomy...

The recent shooting challenge from popular tech-site Gizmodo, had its readers send in some of the best slow shutter (long exposure?) shots I’ve ever seen.

Coupled with these mind-blowing pics were some pretty cool explanations on how the shots were taken. Here’s our pick of the bunch.

1: Smoke Signal – Brad Bogle

brad bogle slow shutter shot

Smoke Signal was taken with an Olympus sp350 set to night scene. This was taken with a color changing led rave light about six inches long by 1/2 inch wide that I wrapped with electrical tape to create a candy cane stripe. I placed the light on my record turn table at a slow RPM and swiped the camera vertically to create the spinning stripe. – Brad Bogle

2: Strawberry Banana – Jason Yore

jason yore slow shutter

No photoshop! To take this photo, I set up some white paper for a background in a dark room. I laid strawberries on a table and separately stood up a banana with some cardboard and tape. With the lights on, I set up a quick-release tripod properly framing the banana (this makes it much easier later). Now the lights are off. So now I set my camera to bulb and used my built-in pop up flash to shoot straight down on the strawberries, filling the frame. Keeping my finger on the shutter button, I put my camera on the tripod and then hit the pilot button on an external flash. The flash hits the white background behind the banana, silhouetting it briefly. Effectively, this washes out all of the original photo of the strawberries except for where the silhouette is, thereby superimposing the first image into the second. And you get a cool glossy product-shot-reflection-look that results from the shadow drop off of the external-flash (although if you look closely, you’ll notice the “reflection” is actually just other strawberries from the initial shot) And now you can have a strawberry-banana! Canon 20D 17-55 IS lens @ f/22 ISO 200 13s (multiple focal length). – Jason Yore

3: Untitled – Dan DeChiaro

dan dechiaro slow shutter shots

Nikon D5000; Nikkor 18-200mm VR; Exposure: 36.5 seconds; Aperture : f/5.0; Focal Length: 38mm; ISO: 400; WB: Daylight. I had a friend spin some burning steel wool in an eggbeater attached to a lanyard at the top of the overpass. What you’re seeing are the resulting spark trails. – Dan DeChiaro

4: Untitled – Charlie Cho

charlie cho slow shutter shots

Nikon D2X; F9 @ 3 minutes; ISO 100; Focal Length: 12.0 mm. I was intrigued with this location and the shadows that were being created from the outside street lamps. I built and wired a bunch of LED lights together and proceeded to light paint. Thank you. – Charlie Cho

5: Fire Spinners – Kellan C. Warren

kellan warren slow shutter shots

The photo was taken of fire spinners in Dallas, TX. I use a Nikon D90 with the 18-200mm Nikkor lens. For this shot, I handheld the camera (sniper technique), and used the following settings: f/3.5; 7/10 second exposure time; ISO-500; 18mm Focal Length (27mm @ 35mm equivalent); Flash off; White balance was adjusted manually. – Kellan C. Warren

6: Laser Eye Center – Charles Espeleta

charles espeleta slow shutter shots

This was perfect timing as I’m doing final project for my digital photography class. So far my idea/theme has evolved into the kinetic energy of our hands. Settings (I used shutter priority): = ISO 1400, 3s. Gear: Nikon D40X with a 50mm lens(stock lens); Sunpak tripod (borrowed from a friend); A Brookstone key light; A “Laser Eye Center” key light (freebie from a convention). – Charles Espeleta

7: Time Lapse of the Milky Way – Henry Lee

henry lee slow shutter

1 hour time lapse showing the Milky Way and star trails above Joshua Tree National Park. Taken at 3 am in the morning in the cold desert night. In the lower right hand corner is the North star. The Milky Way appears as the cloudy haze above the silhouette of the rock. The rock is actually one of the giant boulders you see around Joshua Tree and I am positioned almost beneath it to get it into the frame of this picture with the North Star. Canon T1i/500D; Canon EF-S 10-22mm @ 10mm, f3.5, 200 ISO, 1 hour bulb using an intervalometer; Manfrotto 190xprob Tripod with the 322RC2 Horizontal Grip Action Ball Head. – Henry Lee

8: Light Graffiti – Kelly Seto

kelly seto slow shutter

New to light graffiti, I created this stick-musician using laser pointers. This photo was shot with Nikon D50 (18-200mm VR lens) with the following settings: f/4, ISO200, and an exposure time of 20 seconds. – Kelly Seto

9: Untitled – Mister Devious

misterdevious slow shutter

This photo was taken Friday (Nov 20th) with the models Megan Murray and Jade Pearl. Although it shouldn’t matter, the hardware particulars are below. The image was slightly cropped to conceal some naughty bits, which I’m sure would be unacceptable given your audience. While the image is largely unaltered from the original, I did push the blacks slightly and sharpened it a touch after reducing it in size. Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT; ISO: 100; Exposure: 15sec at f/10; Lens: 18.0-55 mm. – Mister Devious

10: Untitled – Diego Haristoy

diego haristoy slow shutter shots

It takes realized with a Nikon D300, lens Sigma 18-250, takes at low speed with a leds lantern. ISO: 100; 18 mm; f: 8; v: 30′. – Diego Haristoy

11: Untitled – Kelvin Lim

kelvin lim slow shutter shots

Shot this using my “blinking multi-colour LED mouse” in front of my computer as far as the usb cable can stretch. Camera – Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150 – 13 seconds – ISO 100. – Kelvin Lim

12: Untitled – Shawn Richardson

shawn richardson show shutter shots

Equipment: Camera: Sony A200; Lens: Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5; Mount: Laundry Basket & 3 Textbooks; Light: Zippo Lighter & Vanity Lights. Camera Settings: Shutter: 30 sec.; Aperture: f/9.; ISO: 100; Foc Len: 60mm; Focus: Manual. Technique: I set the camera on top of a series of textbooks and a laundry basket and placed all this on top of the dryer (my friend is currently using my tripod). I turned the hot water off under the sink to allow the hot water to be “ON” on the faucet without water coming out. With one hand on the shutter release button and the other on the light switch, I released the shutter and turned the lights out approximately half a second afterwards. This allowed the vanity lights above the sink to properly expose the scene. With the remaining 29.5 seconds of exposure time, I aligned the lighter with the end of the faucet (made ever so slightly difficult because it was now pitch black in the room), ignited the lighter, and made several passes up and down and also around the drain hole to simulate running water. Post processing was done in Lightroom 2.0 and Photoshop CS3. – Shawn Richardson

13: Untitled – Matthew McCawley

matthew mccawley slow shutter shots

Shot late Tuesday night using Nikon D90 18-105 kit lens @ 18mm. Shutter was open for 25minutes @ f9.5 ISO 640 set to M mode. Camera was mounted to a tripod and wireless remote triggered it. The red glow on the rocks came from our campfire. Little post processing work to remove dead spots and dust on the lens. – Matthew McCawley

14: Untitled – Chad Estes

chad estes slow shutter shots

Nikon D90; Shutter Speed: 30 Seconds; F-Stop: F5.0; ISO: 200; Focal Length: 18.0mm; Camera on tripod. Long exposure of Mopac railroad by my house with blue LED. It was about to rain, and very cloudy. – Chad Estes

15: Untitled – Nick Acott

nick acott slow shutter shots

These are 30 second exposure with multiple light sources moving. – Nick Acott

16: Ken Plobsemer

ken plobsemer slow shutter shots

Invite a friend for diner, watch 2012 don’t forget to feed him ….lol. seriously I used my Olympus E-300 on a tripod setup speed shutter to “bulb”, iso to 200, aperture to 8, use different color lights to paint the night …and you get what you see. No software involved. – Ken

17: “Back to the Future” – Derek Carpenter

derek carpenter slow shutter shots

Nikon D700; Sigma 50mm F/1.4G; ISO 6400; 20 second exposure; Subject: 1979 Porsche 911 Turbo. -Derek Carpenter

18: Untitled – Daniel Newton

daniel newton slow shutter

I specialize in nocturnal scenes and long exposure photography. This shot was taken with a Nikon D300 and a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens using an exposure stacking technique over a period of about 7 hours. During the 7 hour exposure, the house was “painted” with a red gelled flash light and illuminated inside by a Coleman lantern. The streaks in the sky are the stars trailing from the rotation of the earth. – Daniel Newton

19: Untitled – Jonah Seifer

jonah seifer slow shutter shots

Equipment: Canon Rebel XS with a 18-55 mm lens. I shot at f/14 and shutter speed at 1.3 seconds. ISO was 400. The camera was on a tripod and the sparks were created by aluminum powder that I coated alligator clips with, and the clips were hooked up to a 500 V homemade taser. – Jonah Seifer

20: Untitled – Paul A. Valenzuela

paul a valenzuela slow shutter shots

Alright no light painting here…just an astronomy 101 project. The photo is a scanned version from a Noritsu 1901 Scanner/Photo Processing unit at a Best Buy when they had Image Centers. The original equipment however, was a Canon EOS Rebel Ti 35mm, with 800 speed film…the f/5.6. The lens was a 24-70mm with a F/ 1:3.5-5.6. This shot was taken in the outskirts of Phoenix, AZ. Where the skies are fairly pitch black. Direction facing is East, with a time of about 10:45pm. The camera was set to remain on a single frame and not to advance…the initial shot was taken at a length of 30 seconds. The shutter was then closed for approximately 3 minutes, I would reopen the shutter to the same frame and keep it open for another 5 minutes. This process was repeated for a total of 5 cycles. I like to call this the “BB Strafe.” The largest brightest object in view is Venus. There are smaller, very small almost inconsistent lines, if you look carefully those are airplanes that made their debut during my shooting. – Paul A. Valenzuela

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