Play with traf­fic

Com­bine mul­ti­ple traf­fic trails in a sin­gle im­age with our step-by-step guide

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

We pho­tog­ra­phers have a bit of a love/hate re­la­tion­ship with move­ment. Some­times it’s a real pain and we strive to keep it to a min­i­mum. At other times, we want to cel­e­brate it in all its blurry glory. The mo­tion of traf­fic at night def­i­nitely falls into the lat­ter cat­e­gory. By us­ing a long ex­po­sure in the low evening light, the smooth mo­tion of their lights cre­ates won­der­ful streaks of colour through the frame.

This is one of those cam­era skills that re­veals the magic of pho­tog­ra­phy – and the best part is, it’s easy! Any­one with a DSLR and tri­pod can do it. As such, it’s a great way to get started with long-ex­po­sure pho­tog­ra­phy as there’s no need for ex­tra fil­ters or even a cable re­lease.

The chal­lenge is find­ing an in­ter­est­ing com­po­si­tion for your shot. Wind­ing roads and moun­tain­ous scenery work per­fectly, but why not try a multi-lane mo­tor­way, city street, or a knotty junc­tion? Another chal­lenge is tim­ing – we want a de­cent ar­ray of lights but at night, es­pe­cially, traf­fic can be rather sparse. How­ever, you can al­ways shoot sev­eral frames then com­bine them with sim­ple edit­ing skills, as we’ll ex­plain...

This is one of those cam­era skills that re­veals the magic of pho­tog­ra­phy – and it’s easy!

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