Oh, Shoot!|Long Exposures of Cars

Today’s post is going to be the 3rd installment of my ‘Oh, Shoot!’ series. In this series I share small tips for shooting or editing photos that I use myself. Of course, photography is subjective, so an aspect in my images that I really like may not be something you like, or it is not what you’re aiming for in a particular shot.

For this post, I will be talking about taking long exposures of cars. It is super simple and you can get some interesting images.



To take a long exposure, you need a camera whose settings can be adjusted manually and a tripod. I use a typical tripod, but you can use a stack of books if that’s what you have — you might just have to do the photos through the window if you use something like a stack of books.



For settings, you want to have a long shutter speed so you can capture the car for a long time; I put mine at about 6-8 seconds long. To compensate for this, you want to have the rest of your settings set as if it were brighter outside. My ISO was set in the 100-200 range and my aperture was around 13. I played around with the settings of course, so my photos all look a little different. One key thing is to have it very dark outside! When I did this for the first time, it was pitch black, but some of my photos looked like it was 3 in the afternoon.



For setup, I had my camera set up so it was looking down the road a bit; this allowed the car to be in the frame for a longer. I also had my camera in a place where I could see the main road and a side road. That way I got some photos with cars going straight, and some where they are turning. Play around with perspective and angles!



I think it would be really cool to crop images like these as a skinny horizontal rectangle to highlight the lines created by the light of the cars. I chose not to for these photos because I liked the colors in the sky; but I think I may try it in the future!

Like I mentioned before, photography is completely subjective, but here are some of the photos I really like from when I shot long exposures of cars:



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