Enhancing your Seascape Images with Long Exposures

Burleigh Heads, Seascape, Gold Coast

An interesting method to enhance your seascape images is to capture the scene with very long exposures. This will cause the water to become very blurred to create a mysterious effect. The water becomes very smooth and can even create reflection from the clouds above.

The above image was set up on a tripod and was exposed with a remote cable at f/22, 30 seconds with a 24mm focal length lens at ISO 100. A Nikon D700 camera was used with a 24-120mm zoom lens.

The secret to achieving such a long exposure is to use a neutral density (ND) filter to limit the amount of light received at the camera sensor. In this case I used a 10 stop ND filter the actual filter used is a 77mm, #110, Neutral Density (ND), 3.0 Filter, by B+W. These filters are available from B+H, New York.

In using a filter like the 10 stop filter I use manual focus and put the filter on after focussing.

The second image below has also been created in a similar way, but in this case a 300mm lens was used to get closer to the rocks. Here  the image was captured at  f/6.3, ISO400, with an exposure time of 13 seconds.

I find this technique a wonderful way to add impact to your images which otherwise would not stand out from a normal exposure at a higher shutter speed.

This technique of using a dense ND filter can also be very effective in capturing moving water in waterfalls and fast flowing streams.

Miami, Seascape, Gold Coast