In December 2012, I took a drive from Houston to North Carolina, heading north towards Arkansas, rather than east via Atlanta. My reason was simple: I hadn’t gone this way before and wanted to see what I could find along the way. Little Rock was an overnight pit stop, but my interest was piqued after a late night stop in the Clinton Presidential Park. I decided to get up early the next morning and come down and get some sunrise shots of the Arkansas River.
It was bitterly cold, with a clear sky, and I was very early. However, the shots that I got were actually quite fulfilling. Broadway Bridge was the focus, and the glorious pink sky was made all the better by a perfectly glazed surface on the Arkansas River. This was an opportunity ripe for long exposure photography. My favourite shot from the set used a 240 second exposure. The four minute shutter speed obviously floods the sensor with light, but there are two ways to control this: first is to use a “big stopper” filter; and the second was to step back the aperture to f/10 (a slower aperture). The question would be why leave the shutter open so long that I have to compensate for it? The answer is that leaving the shutter open smooths out all of the transient features in the sky and the water, i.e. a rogue cloud or an eddy in the water; it provides the perfect opportunity to get those “silky smooth” images that really make the subject pop out.
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