Sunday, January 4, 2015

Practice, Practice, Practice

There is nothing worse than going on a photography trip and not really knowing what you are doing. I therefore spend a lot of time at home practising. 

This afternoon I wanted to see if my Sony A6000 with its ND Throttle (NDT) could cope with Extremely Long Exposures (ELEs), say beyond a few minutes. Most would consider LE work in the 10s of seconds to be long, especially when attempted in daylight.

However, for certain architectural shooting there is a need to consider capturing images over many minutes. So the question was: would the image quality suffer using the NDT?

So I decided on a 800 seconds (over 13 minutes) experiment and used what is now my standard exposure-setting workflow on the Sony A6000:
l Work out how many stops of reduction I need from the target (800s) to get below the Bulb setting. In this case that was 5 stops, ie bringing the shutter time to 25 seconds. Because of diffraction I would normally try to limit things to 4 stops, ie F/2.8 to F/11;

l put the lens on F/2.8 (the widest my Rokinon manual will go) and adjust the NDT until the histogram looks about right. From experience you can not afford to have blown out areas when setting up;

  • Set the camera to Bulb; 
  • Dial the lens up 5 stops to F16;
  • Use the iPod and MaxStone to take the image.
So here is what a boring 800 second shot of my living room looks like. As you can see the floor is a little blown out and clearly I could afford to adjust my initial NDT setting or adjust the Rokinon to, say, 1/3 or 1/2 stop less than F/16, ie towards F/22. But as I said above, I would prefer not to go to this small of an aperture. 

However, overall I’m pretty pleased with this ‘ultimate’ test of the ELE abilities of the Sony A6000. Next the field test!

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