Birds Canon 20D Cork Ireland Lights Long Exposure Night Photos Sigma 10-20 Sky The Lough Urban Water

The lonely swan

A solitary swan swims on the calm waters of The Lough as the sun disappears at the end of the day.

Believe it or not, this is a 10 second exposure that turned out much better than I could have hoped! I balanced my camera on the edge of the Lough, set it to Aperture priority mode at f/11, dialed the exposure down two stops, flipped up the camera flash and took the shot.

How does this work?

  • By setting the aperture to a fairly high value little light is let into the camera sensor.
  • By setting the exposure down two stops the whole scene will be underexposed but bright areas will be exposed mostly correctly.
  • Given the above settings, any dark moving objects will be completely invisible so when the flash fired it picked out the swan swimming past and even created a nice reflection in the water.

Hope that helps!

Aperture ƒ/11
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 10mm
ISO 200
Shutter speed 10s

By Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Twitter.

12 replies on “The lonely swan”

xeer has posted a comment:

Thanks for commenting! Luciano7 – I didn’t need to worry about the movement of the swan because it was so dark.

Remember, this was a 10 second exposure, very underexposed, so anything that wasn’t emitting light itself would have been completely dark.

From experience, I know that if I tried to expose properly the light in the background would have been blown out, and the swan would have been a ghost except where it is lit up by the flash.

By deliberatly underexposing I got a really sharp swan instead!

The lonely swan

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