Long Exposure Photography at Blue Hour by Joey J 📸


Making of a Photograph: Part 2 – Marina Bay (Singapore)

This photo was shot at Gardens by the Bay East back in January 2017. 6 years on, I feel it’s still my personal best to date and the only photo that I’ve purchased a canvas print to hang on my wall. 😅

On that very day, the sky, the light, and reflections all came together perfectly. As a basic rule, I only go out and shoot waterfront cityscapes on a sunny evening with the quality light, but as for reflections, I never know until I reach the location (because it depends on how still the water is on the day), so we need a bit of luck here to tick all the boxes.

That said, having the best condition doesn’t always guarantee a banger. To me, shooting compelling long exposure photos at blue hour comes down to two things – when to start the exposure, and for how long. Nail this combo or screw it up is all up to the person behind the camera. 😅

For this shot, I started the long exposure at 19:31 pm, 4 minutes before the end of dusk, and extended 3 seconds of base shutter speed into 194 seconds (at f/11) by using a 6 stop ND filter, smoothing out the water nicely.

Normally, I start the long exposure 10 to 5 minutes prior to dusk, but on that day, the sky wasn’t darkened much despite being so close to the end of dusk, so I waited a little longer than usual.

For the same reason (the sky being not so dark yet), I chose a base shutter speed of 3 seconds to expose a bit longer although my usual preference is either 2 or 2.5 seconds, which extends the exposure to 128 and 160 seconds respectively with a 6 stop ND filter attached, according to Long Exposure Calculator app.

This is something I’ve learned from experience, but at the close end of dusk, starting the exposure a minute or two earlier or later significantly affects the end result. As for this photo, my judgement call was spot on, I must say! 😀


About MeAbout the Author: LASTLIGHTS.NET is a passion project of Joey J, a Singapore-based Japanese photographer primarily shooting cityscape photography with long exposure at blue hour. Visit his Home Gallery (30 most favourite photos taken) or download his free eBook, Getting Started with Long Exposure Photography.


March 21, 2023 | Permalink

Wow! This is wonderful photography! 🤩😍💕✨

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