NYThroughTheLens: Why I Shoot Long Exposures

Vivienne Gucwa

Under the 59th Street Bridge, New York City.

For a really long time, I avoided night photography. When I first started photography, understanding natural daylight was enough of a challenge. One can spend their entire life mastering the subtle nature of daylight and its effect on an infinite variety of scenes.

The turning point for me occurred on a frigid winter night in New York City, when I decided to experiment with my first long exposure. I was hooked.

Long exposure photography involves using long shutter speeds to capture static elements in a scene while also capturing the moving elements in a unique fashion. Usually, if there is movement in a scene, the movement will be captured as a blur. This is great for scenes with light, since moving light is captured as a light streak.

The mental transition going from shooting city scenes quickly in natural daylight to shooting long exposure city scenes at night is an interesting one. There is a zen quality to setting up and shooting long exposures. Waiting for a shot in the age of digital instant gratification is refreshing. It slows down the process. You become hyper-aware of the movement of clouds and light transitions. In the winter especially, it’s a commitment. The minute (or longer) of waiting seems to encompass an eternity.

A gorgeous bridge and urban landscape during the day becomes a bridge in Batman's Gotham city at night, all thanks to the magic of a 30 second long exposure.

Camera: Sony SLT-A99
Lens: Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70mm f/2.8

Check out more of Vivienne's work at her blog.



Glenna Gordon's Diagram of the Heart


The Curator


© Ina Jang
PDN April 2016: The PDN's 30 Issue


Log in to access all of the PDN archives and the full benefits of your PDN subscription.     

The Latest Exclusive Headlines


Tout VTS


Tout VTS


Contact PDN | About Photo District News | Camera Reviews and Gear Guide | Photography Blog | Photo News | Photo Magazine- Print Subscription |
Photography RSS Resources | Free Photography Newsletter | Photo Magazine Advertising | Photographer Features & Resources | Stock Photographs
© 2016 Emerald Expositions, LLC. All rights reserved. Read our TERMS OF USE and PRIVACY POLICY