The Chase Pier, photographed using long exposure photography using a long-duration shutter speed. (Jo McAvany photo)

Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

Have fun by exploring long exposure photography

What to do when the light is flat and your friend calls and says. “I really would like to go out for some photos. I’m tired of being cooped up and would like to go to the Chase pier and maybe try some long exposures for fun.”

Personally, I was tired of watching Gilligan’s Island reruns on TV. Hmmm…(I wonder if that should actually be “re-re-reruns?) Anyway I said “yes”, and even agreed when she said she wanted to borrow my 16-35mm lens.

I packed my tripod, mounted a 24-70mm on my camera and grabbed some ND filters for us.

When we got to the pier just before 4 p.m. the park, beach and pier were almost deserted. Just a mother with her two kids walking along the icy edge of the lake and another couple finishing their stroll along the pier.

Jo McAvany walked on to the pier, set her tripod up and began making some test exposures before moving on to the end, while I wandered out along the frozen sand to see what I could find to photograph. I later asked Jo what shutterspeed she was using and she said all were at 30 seconds, and I have included two of her long exposures.

For those that aren’t familiar with long exposure photography, Wikipedia defines it as “Long-exposure, time-exposure, or slow-shutter photography that involves using a long-duration shutter speed to sharply capture the stationary elements of images while blurring, smearing, or obscuring the moving elements.”

The only equipment besides a camera and lens a photographer needs is a good sturdy tripod and a neutral density filter.

A neutral-density filter is a filter that reduces the intensity of the light equally without making changes color rendition of the scene.

Long exposure photography has become popular. Subjects surrounded by water have an ethereal look, clouds might become wispy streaks, lights from moving cars make long coloured lines and city scape lights have an unusual quality.

For us it was a good time. And in spite of the flat overcast day we had the time to get creative and try to make some photographs that were different from those on a sunny day or in the evening.

Long exposure or time-exposure photography is fun and it doesn’t matter what the conditions are or the time of day, the resulting photographs will be unusual, creative and sometimes are real showstoppers.

Stay safe and be creative.

These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at or

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