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Long exposure street photography catches an ambulance responding to an emergency

Long exposures

After watching the Digital Rev TV episode on long exposures, I decided to try some of my own. I stood in a central reservation on a main street in Cambridge and put my camera on a keep left sign to steady it.

I knew I’d have to use a small aperture to compensate for having a long shutter time, as that would let in a lot of light. I went for f11 after a couple of experiments and the first two were exposed for 3.2 seconds at ISO 100. The last one was exposed for 2.5 seconds at ISO 200, for the last one, and all were shot on manual mode.

Suddenly I heard sirens and set up quickly to shoot, wondering what flashing lights would come out like on a long exposure: (Click on the photos for full size.)

A long exposure with an ambulance driving past taken in Cambridge, UK.

As much as I wouldn’t wish to see an ambulance with it’s lights on as it means someone is in trouble, it makes for a cool and interesting shot on a long exposure.

A long exposure shot of a main street in Cambridge, UK with light trails from passing vehicles.

I quite liked this look. I’ll definitely be trying more long exposure shots in the future.

Another long exposure shot showing vehicle light trails, taken in Cambridge, UK

Another long exposure of the street in Cambridge.

It’s a shame that the ambulance shot didn’t come out quite as sharp as the other two – there was some camera shake due to having to react quickly, whereas the other I could take more time over. If I’d had more time, I would’ve set up my TriggerTrap mobile dongle & taken these using the mobile app, which would’ve eliminated the camera shake, but I was on the way to the train station to go home and only had a couple of minutes. I’ll definitely do some more at some point though. I also want to try doing some long exposure panning shots using my flash to freeze the subject with second curtain sync, so watch out for a future post on that too.

A few other recent shots

I took this one shortly before the long exposures, just down the road.

Church of St Mary, Cambridge

I liked the contrasting but complimentary colours in this one.

These last couple were taken in Littleport, on my walk to the train station. I love taking shots on misty days. I played around in Aperture to see what effects I could get and was pretty happy with the results.

Two telephone poles, taken on a very misty morning in Littleport, Cambridgeshire

It was a very foggy morning, as you can see from the 2nd pole

A misty riverbank in Littleport, Cambridgeshire

A misty morning walking to the train station.


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