For some time I’m trying to find a way to make some daylight long exposure shots. I know some photographers are using several ND filters attached together but good ND filters are not cheap and it is a little bit hard to get some here where I live. Another problem was what camera to use. Digital is standard today and results are visible right away but overheating a sensor is serious problem (digital sensors are generating heat when taking long exposure shots). Analog is much safer but again, if you make some wrong calculations, whole role of film could be ruined (and it is truly hard to find decent laboratory these days who will develop it the way you want it). And then recently, I was talking about it with my friend Borut and it came to me that I could try to use a welding glass as a truly strong ND filter.
First, I used my GF1 camera to determine the strength of a welding glass (light sensitivity). I calculated it is a 15 stop filter equivalent.
My intention was to use it on a Canon AE1 program camera with 28mm lens and to shoot some cityscapes – 32 minutes exposures and more – so it would be possible to eliminate all the movement in a scene or to create some abstraction with very crowded places. My test roll was terrible. I realized that all the positions from where I was shooting were “contaminated” with reflections from different shiny objects (car windows, wrist watches on someones hand, sun glasses…). All the shots were overexposed but partially. Something like light stains. I dropped the idea ’cause I need something less complicated.
Then, I tried again with GF1 camera with a intention to make one long exposure and then to leave a camera to cool down. I intended to make 32 minutes exposure but very soon I find out that GF1 camera has a safety feature to limit the length of a exposure to 256 seconds. I couldn’t find any info about the camera feature but I would like to believe it is it. 🙂 (Let me know if you know anything about it).
So, 256 sec exposure became my new obsession. It is long enough to eliminate or wipe out the movement out of frame but short enough to have time to make some corrections if needed without a “moment” lost. Next month I’ll be traveling to Vienna, Prague, Bratislava and Budapest and it will be a good opportunity to make interesting series (I hope).
Of course, welding glass is green so I was thinking black&white but once I saw a green result I felt in love with it. It has some apocalyptic note that gives it additional drama.
Look for yourself: