Creative landscape photography

Photo of Mogens Johansen

Keeping the shutter open for long exposures allows landscape photographers to create some stunning images...

...Moving water takes on a soft silky appearance, clouds appear blurry and stretch across the sky.

The good news is that it’s easy to do and you don’t need any special equipment other than a camera and tripod to practice this technique.

The blue hours just before sunrise and just after sunset are perfect for practising long exposure landscape photography.

The light has a beautiful soft appearance and because of the low light level it is easy to achieve long exposures around 10-30 seconds.


Mount your camera on the tripod.

Set your ISO to a low setting like 100 or 200 ISO to achieve the best quality with crisp saturated colours.

Measure the light and set the correct exposure using the Manual setting or one of the semi automatic settings like shutter speed priority or aperture priority.

Choose an aperture around f/11 or f/16 for maximum depth of field — but experiment with it so you achieve an exposure around 10-30 seconds.

Use manual focus and use the camera’s self-timer to avoid any camera shake when pressing the shutter.


You can also achieve slow shutter speeds in bright sunny conditions but in order to capture a correctly exposed image you will need a neutral density filter to slow down the shutter speed.

ND filters, as they are commonly called, are darkened filters that are fixed to the front of the lens to reduce the amount of light hitting the sensor. They come in different levels of darkness that reduces the exposure by various levels. To slow down the speeds during daytime you will need at least a 10 Stop ND filter. A 10 Stop ND filter will reduce the shutter speed from 1/60th second to 16.7 seconds.

The blue hour pic above was taken at Wyalup, Rocky Point Beach in Bunbury. I set the camera to aperture priority and used the camera's 2 second self timer. The exposure settings were: ISO 100, F/14 and a 30 second shutter speed.


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