Together with my last image, Variance, Advance is one of my favorite long exposure photos I have produced in a little while! I enjoy the photos I create because they represent the type of photography that moves me, but it tends to be more than that. These long exposure photos were both taken on a windy, rainy day in between big storms pushing through the area. I had noticed the weather and direction of the wind and knew it would photograph well in a western-facing scene like this pier on the inter coastal in Dunedin. I've known about this pier for a while as it's close to where my photo Abandon was taken.
I found a place to park a short distance away and quickly made the walk back to this little pier in the rain. My first photos were taken in the rain using an umbrella to shield the lens from water as the wind attempted to fold it inside out. I'm sure this made for an interesting picture to people driving past. There I am in a decent bit of rain, with my camera set up and while I do have an umbrella, it's over the camera while I am getting soaked. Let's be honest, I love weather like this. And that's what I am getting at. Sometimes I love a photo not because it moves me (even though most of my long exposure photography is created because it does), it's more because I love the backstory. I love standing in the rain for a photo! I love having the wind be strong enough that I really have to pay attention to how I set up and weigh down my tripod. I love being out in the weather that generally clears the beach out. It's part of the story and it's a part that I really enjoy.
So, the rain pushed through even though the wind did not and I got a first look at the storm you can see in this long exposure photo. It was making it's way across the inter coastal from Clearwater and it looked like I was going to get the opportunity to photograph it moving towards me. The clouds were dark enough that I wanted to spread them out across the sky and thought a longer exposure than normal would accomplish that nicely. I stacked both of my neutral density filters and used them to get the exposure to around 5.5 minutes. With the filters stacked, I cut the light by 16 stops... For those of you who haven't ever worked with neutral density filters that dark, it's dark enough that you can't see a single thing looking through the eyepiece. In fact, neither can the camera! The filters have to be removed in order to focus and compose the shot. The filters are so dark that the camera can't even help calculate what shutter speed should be used. Typically, you could count the stops and double your long exposure length 16 times to figure out your settings but there's a degradation in sensitivity based on how long the exposure will be and it ends up having to be even longer than the math suggests. I've found a little iPhone app that does all the thinking for me called LE Calculator, and I HIGHLY recommend it! It's awesome and super easy to use. You tell it what your exposure is prior to putting on the filters and then tell it how many stops of ND filters you're about to screw on and it figures it all out within 1/3rd of a stop. Pretty awesome!
Anyways, Advance is the newest of my florida long exposure photos and was taken on the intercoastal in Dunedin, Florida. It's a 5.5 minute long exposure taken at F11 using B+W 10 & 6 stop ND filters and a Nikon D800. For a look at some of the photoshop tricks I used as part of my post production, check out my newest tutorial video 5 Photoshop Tricks Every Landscape Photographer Should Know.