6 Things You Need to Know for Long Exposure by Filter

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Landscape photographers often use long exposure to blur movement. For this series of photos I used a ND64 filter to achieve a long exposure with my Phantom during (late) daylight. The photos are made at two different waterfalls in Iceland. The new Phantom 4 Pro and Inspire 2 give you even more possibilities.

1. Long exposure

Aperture2.8       Shutter Speed1.6      ISO100       TypePhantom 3 Professional/ND64

With a long exposure (or slow shutter) photo you will blur any moving objects like waterfalls, waves or city traffic. At the same time, stationary elements like rocks or roads will remain sharp if your camera is stable enough. With moving water this gives a kind of mystic or serene effect.
For long exposure photography you need ‘less light’. For photography on the ground, this can be achieved by the lowest possible ISO, a smaller diaphragm (higher F value), photographing around sunset/sunrise or attaching a neutral density (ND) grey filter. You will always use a tripod to avoid any movement of the camera.

A Phantom or Inspire is sometimes referred to as a flying tripod. It is really amazing how all technique works together to hover the quadcopter in place as good as possible, while the gimbal does the rest in achieving a perfectly still image. On Skypixel we have seen great long exposure photos, but they are often made after sunset or during the dark night. With a Phantom 3, Phantom 4 standard or Inspire 1, ISO can go no lower than 100 and the diaphragm is fixed to F2.8 so you cannot use them to achieve a longer exposure. So we need to wait till it is dark enough and/or use a filter.

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