Take it slow

Ma­nip­u­lat­ing time isn’t just the province of Doc­tor Who – Tom Mackie shows how you, too, can be a time lord with his tips on long ex­po­sures. TARDIS not re­quired

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We all love the ef­fect of a slow shut­ter speed. Tom Mackie re­veals the speeds to use for ev­ery­thing from wa­ter­falls and waves to auro­ras

Play­ing with time might seem the stuff of science fic­tion, but for land­scape pho­tog­ra­phers it’s a fan­tas­tic way of cap­tur­ing a dif­fer­ent take on the way our eyes see a scene. By con­trol­ling time you in­flu­ence emo­tions. It’s quite easy to freeze time, but it’s more of a chal­lenge to ma­nip­u­late time by slow­ing it down. Us­ing slower shut­ter speeds can trans­form a scene to ex­press ac­tion, drama, won­der or soli­tude. How do we de­cide what shut­ter speed to use for a spe­cific de­sired ef­fect? Here, we’ll take a look at four dif­fer­ent time seg­ments and see how we can use each to cre­ate a dif­fer­ent ef­fect and feel­ing. We will be work­ing with shut­ter speeds from 1/30th of a sec­ond up to four min­utes. Each one of these time seg­ments, when used cor­rectly, can pro­duce com­pletely dif­fer­ent re­sults. The rel­a­tively short ex­po­sures show energy and mo­tion, then as we slow time down the re­sults be­come much more calm and tran­quil.

All it takes is a tri­pod, a ca­ble re­lease, an ND fil­ter or two, and my es­sen­tial guide to the ef­fects you can get when you play with longer ex­po­sures.

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