Long exposures are one of my favourite types of photos because they look so incredible (assuming you get everything right, of course) and because they look hard to do. Now, I’m not saying that there isn’t a decent level of work involved to get shots like the one above, but it’s certainly not as complicated as you might think. In fact, you can learn how to take a long exposure in just a few minutes’ time.
First and foremost, you’ll need some specific gear to get your long exposure photos:
Duh – you need a camera. But you don’t have to have a big, fancy camera! An interchangeable lens camera with a self-timer and bulb mode is ideal. And the nice thing is that many inexpensive, beginner-level DSLR and mirrorless cameras have those features. That means you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on a camera if you don’t already have one. Take the Nikon D3300 shown above with an 18-55 mm kit lens as a great example. Brand new, this thing is under $450 at the time of writing. That’s not a bad deal!
Since long exposure photographs deal with shutter speeds that are seconds, if not minutes long, you’ll need to give your camera a solid, stable base such that the images you capture are as sharp as possible. Again, you don’t have to break the bank on a tripod in order to get something that will serve you well and has plenty of features for long exposures and other types of photos (and video, too!). The Vanguard VEO 235AP is a great example of an inexpensive tripod (about $115 at the time of writing). Vanguard tripods have an excellent reputation for build quality, so you know you’re getting something you can depend on when you take long exposures.
It can hold nearly 8 pounds, so well within the realm of a crop sensor camera and a lens. It has five leg sections to give you great variability in height, but it folds down to less than 15 inches for easy transport. Rubber feet, metal spikes, and easy locking legs make it easy to set up too. It even comes with a PH-25 2-Way Pan/Tilt Head!