The challenge for photographers - the impossible mission

Blackberryroid

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 8, 2012
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I have seen creative examples of cars at night taken with a slow shutter speed.


And I tried to replicate this during the day. I have tried everything I can: Smallest aperture ever, lowest ISO and exposure to -5. The shutter is set for 30 seconds. What I ended up with is a white picture. Plain white.

If only there was 0.005 ISO, but that isn't an option. The lowest can only go up to 100.

To make it a perfectly normal picture, I could turn the shutter down, but that defeats the purpose. I need a picture of cars blurred.

30 seconds is a must, any lower and the effect will not be seen.

Did you ever try this? I didn't know it would be this hard.
 
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G.T.

macrumors 6502a
Jul 12, 2008
500
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f/16 or f/22,
ISO 100
Add a strong ND filter to the front to reduce exposure by 3+ stops.

Fly to Germany and take a photo of cars driving fast on the Autobahn?
Like Abstract says you will need a strong ND filter.

I have seen creative examples of cars at night taken with a slow shutter speed.
Image

And I tried to replicate this during the day. I have tried everything I can: Smallest aperture ever, lowest ISO and exposure to -5. The shutter is set for 30 seconds. What I ended up with is a white picture. Plain white.

If only there was 0.005 ISO, but that isn't an option. The lowest can only go up to 100.

To make it a perfectly normal picture, I could turn the shutter down, but that defeats the purpose. I need a picture of cars blurred.


Did you ever try this? I didn't know it would be this hard.
Also you say you put exposure to -5, if I understand exposure compensation correctly this will have the opposite effect desired. Since to get a darker image it will adjust setting accordingly. But if you have the highest set aperture and the lowest iso, then the only thing it can do is increase shutter speed, whereas you want to decrease the speed so things blur. Can someone confirm I've understood this correctly.
 

Blackberryroid

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 8, 2012
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Like Abstract says you will need a strong ND filter.



Also you say you put exposure to -5, if I understand exposure compensation correctly this will have the opposite effect desired. Since to get a darker image it will adjust setting accordingly. But if you have the highest set aperture and the lowest iso, then the only thing it can do is increase shutter speed, whereas you want to decrease the speed so things blur. Can someone confirm I've understood this correctly.
The exposure actually resulted into a darker image, I tried this with an average settings, it doesn't make the picture any whiter. So wen I made it -5, It was helping me. But the shutter isn't.
 

Edge100

macrumors 68000
May 14, 2002
1,557
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Where am I???
I have seen creative examples of cars at night taken with a slow shutter speed.
Image

And I tried to replicate this during the day. I have tried everything I can: Smallest aperture ever, lowest ISO and exposure to -5. The shutter is set for 30 seconds. What I ended up with is a white picture. Plain white.

If only there was 0.005 ISO, but that isn't an option. The lowest can only go up to 100.

To make it a perfectly normal picture, I could turn the shutter down, but that defeats the purpose. I need a picture of cars blurred.


Did you ever try this? I didn't know it would be this hard.
Methinks you need to read up a bit more on exposure. Midday open sunlight is roughly f/16, 1/100, ISO 100 (the basis of the 'sunny-16ths' rule), so a 30 second exposure is 12 stops (!!!) overexposed. That explains the pure white image you got.

So assuming this is the midday exposure where you live, you'll need f/16, ISO 100, 4 second exposure, and an 9-stop ND filter like this one.

A 30 second exposure is overkill; 4 seconds should be more than enough.
 

G.T.

macrumors 6502a
Jul 12, 2008
500
0
The exposure actually resulted into a darker image, I tried this with an average settings, it doesn't make the picture any whiter. So wen I made it -5, It was helping me. But the shutter isn't.
I would say that the reason the shutter speed isn't helping is because it is overwritten by the exposure compensation. Obviously you want the blur but you don't want the to be overexposed but in daylight this is hard to do for long exposures without the help of ND filters. So it thinks you would rather is stay dark and to do that it needs to let less light in, which means the shutter is not open for as long. If you try it with no exposure compensation, the image will be light and have more blur. But getting an ND filter will help keep the image from being too bright.

edit: sorry I never saw in the original post you got a white image. I thought you were struggling to get a blurred image.

Basically just the ND filter is all you need. It seems you understand what settings you need to get the effect.
 

Blackberryroid

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 8, 2012
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Methinks you need to read up a bit more on exposure. Midday open sunlight is roughly f/16, 1/100, ISO 100 (the basis of the 'sunny-16ths' rule), so a 30 second exposure is 12 stops (!!!) overexposed. That explains the pure white image you got.

So assuming this is the midday exposure where you live, you'll need f/16, ISO 100, 4 second exposure, and an 9-stop ND filter like this one.

A 30 second exposure is overkill; 4 seconds should be more than enough.
4 seconds isn't enough to create that effect. I really need 30 seconds.
 

Edge100

macrumors 68000
May 14, 2002
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4 seconds isn't enough to create that effect. I really need 30 seconds.
Then you need to do it later in the day. A 30 second exposure is 3 stops more than 4 seconds, so you need to go when the ambient light is 3 stops lower.

Try stacking two 6 stop ND filters together? (you're not going to be able to compose through 12 or even 9 stops of ND filter)

EDIT: It can be done with a 15 second exposure, apparently.
 

MacCruiskeen

macrumors 6502
Nov 9, 2011
321
5
I need a picture of cars blurred.

30 seconds is a must, any lower and the effect will not be seen.

Did you ever try this? I didn't know it would be this hard.
I've done it with pinholes on a Speed Graphic. At appx. f/300 you can get such long exposures. But, at 30 secs or more exposure, you won't get blurred cars; the cars will barely register. And in daylight, you won't get headlights, but you'll get trails from specular reflections. If your camera has a removable lens, you can make a pinhole from a body cap.
 

Edge100

macrumors 68000
May 14, 2002
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Where am I???
I'm not sure the OP is particularly interested in our suggestions of why this will or will not work. What the OP wants, I think, is to have the laws of physics change such that daytime becomes night, but is still day...if you followed that.

The less said, the better. Anyone who doesn't understand that a 30s exposure in broad daylight is unlikely to yield good results is...well...is perhaps not ready for a Speed Graphic.
 

nburwell

macrumors 601
May 6, 2008
4,630
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I would highly recommend you look at the B+W .10-stop ND filter. It's not cheap, but it will give you the effect you're looking for.
 

Designer Dale

macrumors 68040
Mar 25, 2009
3,950
99
Folding space
That has to be PhotoShop.I can't even see the cars.
My fuzzy morning math tells me that at 60mph a car can travel 1,320 feet in 15 seconds. At that rate the car itself wouldn't register on the camera, only it's lights.

The white frame you get could easily be stacked up light trails yielding a white frame.

Dale
 

snberk103

macrumors 603
Oct 22, 2007
5,484
87
An Island in the Salish Sea
I have seen creative examples of cars at night taken with a slow shutter speed.
Image

And I tried to replicate this during the day. I have tried everything I can: Smallest aperture ever, lowest ISO and exposure to -5. The shutter is set for 30 seconds. What I ended up with is a white picture. Plain white.
You can't get the same picture during day. At night the tail-lights and headlights are very very much brighter than the background and the roadway, so they stand out. The difference will measured in several, if not many, stops difference. During the day the light emitted by the headlights and tail-lights is overpowered by the light from the sun. While there will be a very little bit more light from the headlights than the sunlight reflected back from the background and roadway, it will be measured in a small fraction of a stop of light, likely.

If you are after the look of blurring cars, then that is different. The exposure necessary to do that is entirely dependent on many factors, including the lense focal length and the length of the roadway visible in the viewfinder (which is tied into the distance you are from the roadway.)

One of the complicating factors is that if you extend the exposure time too much, you may not see blurry cars at all... You may make them disappear entirely. The rule of thumb is that (more or less) a object has to be (more or less) stationary for about half the time of the exposure to register. So in a 30 sec exposure of a road, a car would need to occupy the same space for at least 15 sec (more or less) to register. If you want blurring, then the car can move a bit such that the majority of the car moves through the same space for the exposure. The parts of the car that were moving towards or away from that shared space form the transparent blur.

If a car on a roadway is in your view finder for a second, and fills the viewfinder (more or less) then your exposure times should be in the 1/2 second range, give or take 2 or 3 stops.

Bright lights (from headlights and tail-lights at night, for example) are exception because they are emitting light - not reflecting the ambient light.

If only there was 0.005 ISO, but that isn't an option. The lowest can only go up to 100.
Once upon a time in photo school I had a chance to use a film, Kodak - I believe, that (depending on your development) could hit ISO .001. It was pretty cool to use.
...
30 seconds is a must, any lower and the effect will not be seen.
At 30 seconds you are making the cars disappear entirely.
Did you ever try this? I didn't know it would be this hard.
And this is why professional photographers get paid... And to teach, of course...
The exposure actually resulted into a darker image, I tried this with an average settings, it doesn't make the picture any whiter. So wen I made it -5, It was helping me. But the shutter isn't.
When you have set your camera to the "darkest" setting, changing the exposure compensation dial won't do anything. You can't make the camera go past its limits. All the exposure compensation dial does is alter the sensitivity of the light meter. If the meter should read 100th of a second at f/4, then changing the compensation dial will merely tell the meter to report a different setting. Or of you are using Av or Tv to report to itself the altered reading.

Good Luck. You sound keen...
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,379
110
Location Location Location
I didn't realize you wanted to do this during the day. :rolleyes: :eek: Sorry.



If you want to replicate the day in the photo (and not actually shoot this during daylight hours), you're going to have to go out just before sunrise. I mean, literally shoot prior to the sun rising above the horizon. The sky still won't be light, but won't be black either. It should be a deep, dark blue. This may be possible starting just 30 minutes prior to sunrise time, as told to you by your local weather forecast, or weather website. I don't know how to do the specifics, but there should be a 10 minute window where you can achieve what you want, so good luck. :p


The alternative is to do it just after sunset. You'll get more cars that way, but you'll also see more traffic jams and slow cars? The sky should be under the horizon, but the sky shouldn't be totally black yet.


A 20-30 second exposure may be possible, with or without an ND filter if you're shooting before sunrise, or after sunset. If the sky still blows out, then you need a ND gradient filter (the darker part of the gradient covering the sky) to ensure that the sky isn't blown out, and yet you've collected enough light from the road and cars.



When you say your exposure was -5, do you mean that your exposure compensation was set to -3, and your exposure meter was indicating -2??? :confused: Sorry, but exposure compensation usually doesn't let you set anything beyond +-3 stops. Actually, my 2 cameras don't let me use an exposure comp of more than +-2 seconds!!



That has to be PhotoShop.I can't even see the cars.
I'm not 100% certain, but it may be possible to do it without seeing the cars, just like in the link. ;) Keep a long enough exposure time (over 30 seconds?), and the cars wouldn't at any particular location in the photo for long. The headlights should still register because they're so bright.
 
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Prodo123

macrumors 68020
Nov 18, 2010
2,319
9
ND8 or ND16 with f/22 (or smaller, depending on your lens), ISO 100.
Usually kit lenses can stop down all the way to f/32 on the long end, because of their usually small maximum aperture.

This should make any daytime exposure super long.

The ND8 is 3 stops, ND16 4. f/32 is 4 1/3 stops slower than f/8. Total, you'd get 7-8 stops slower than what you would get with f/8.