I’ve posted a picture of sunrise at this lighthouse in Maine before, but it was a compilation of nine shots to capture lights and darks together. This photo, however, is one shot that was exposed for 32 seconds.
Notice that the water has a gauzy, glassy look, and the clouds look a bit “choppy.” Why? The gauziness is because the water, obviously, is moving during that 32 seconds, and the play of light in the water movement is recording ripple on ripple on ripple and on and on until the shutter closes. Same thing with the clouds, but since the wispy clouds are broken and not continuous like the water, you can see their start and stop points over 32 seconds.
So how can one shoot straight into the sun for 32 seconds without “blowing out” the entire photo? I used a neutral density filter that attaches onto the end of the lens, reducing the amount of light hitting the sensor without changing the wavelengths of the colors. Sort of like sunglasses for a lens.
This was my first time using it in a “real world” setting, and it was mostly hit and miss… guessing what the optimal time for exposure was. This one was the best of the few I did. Because this method takes so long to shoot and to write to the memory card, I didn’t do that many. The sun rises a lot faster than you think it does, and I didn’t want to miss out on shooting from other areas. :)
You can see details better if you click on the photo to see a larger image on SmugMug.
(Portland Head Lighthouse, Maine | August, 2014)