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How to take long exposure photos of traffic.

Long exposure photography is a technique that has gained immense popularity over the years. It is a technique that involves taking a photo with a slow shutter speed, thereby allowing more light into the camera and creating some beautiful effects, such as light trails or motion blur. This can be particularly striking at night or around golden hour times. One of the most popular subjects for long exposure photography is traffic. In this blog, we will discuss how to take a long exposure photo of traffic.

The first thing you need to do is choose the right location. Look for a place where there is a lot of traffic, but also where you can set up your camera without obstructing the flow of traffic or putting yourself in danger. Bridges or overpasses are excellent spots for taking long exposure photos of traffic. Having a vision beforehand of what you want the shot to look like will help you to choose a location that fits the composition you are looking for.

Use a tripod

A tripod is an essential piece of equipment for long exposure photography. It will help you keep your camera steady, reducing the chances of any camera shake that might ruin your shot. Set up your tripod on a level surface and make sure it's stable.

Next, you need to set your camera settings. Here are some recommended settings:

  • Shutter speed: Start with a slow shutter speed of around 10-15 seconds and adjust it as needed.

  • Aperture: Use a small aperture (a large f-stop number) to create a deeper depth of and to ensure everything in the frame is in focus.

  • ISO: Use a low ISO to reduce noise in your photo.

  • Use a remote shutter release or timer

When taking a long exposure photo, even the slightest movement can ruin the shot. Using a remote shutter release or timer will help eliminate any camera shake that may occur when pressing the shutter button. This will also allow you to step back from the camera and observe the traffic flow. I tend to use the 2 second timer on my camera for my shots, it allows me to have no camera shake and time my shot perfectly for oncoming traffic.

Experiment with different angles and compositions. Take a few test shots and experiment with different angles and compositions. Try shooting from different heights, such as from ground level or from an elevated position. You can also experiment with the framing, such as placing the traffic in the center of the frame or off to one side.

Wait for the right moment

Patience is key when taking a long exposure photo of traffic. Wait for the right moment, such as when there is a lot of traffic or when the light is just right. Keep an eye on the traffic flow and take several shots to capture a variety of light trails and patterns.

Taking a long exposure photo of traffic can be a fun and rewarding experience for photographers. Remember to choose the right location, use a tripod, set your camera settings, use a remote shutter release or timer, experiment with different angles and compositions, and wait for the right moment. These same techniques can be used for a variety of long exposure shots including stars, shorelines and more. With a little patience and practice, you can capture some stunning and unique images.

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