Review - Antony Zacharias “Long Exposure Photography”, 21 Feb 2022

A review by Janine Scola - An evening with Antony Zacharias “Long Exposure Photography”, 21 Feb 2022
Antony is a renowned author, lecturer, architectural and travel photographer, with a passion for long exposure photography. With the latter in mind, Antony joined us via Zoom to tell us everything we wanted to know.

Many of us have seen images of still seas and ethereal rivers and waterfalls and thought “I really ought to have a go, but how?” Well this was the night to find out – Antony started by offering a two-part definition; firstly, “What is Long Exposure?” and secondly the fun part, “How to be creative and try different techniques?”

For the first part, he highlighted when to consider using long exposure such as a shortage of available light, the deliberate use of extended shutter speed and of course astrophotography, but importantly that such photography can only be achieved with the use of a tripod. This was all accompanied by stunning images depicting the Milky Way over Durdle Door, as well as the circular rotation of the stars above a stationary element within your image. He gave suggestions as to the settings to use in your camera to provide the best results and to create a bit of intrigue and mystery so that the viewer is drawn in – simply, slow down and enjoy the whole process.

On to night photography and the ‘blue hour’. Antony’s wonderful images of the canals of Amsterdam and the reflections of the buildings were great examples of what can be achieved during this period. The ‘starburst’ effect and how this can be attained with a small aperture of either F16 or F18, at the same time maintaining image quality with sufficient depth of field. He emphasised the need to really be ‘shooting’ in RAW which affords the most information from which to edit your chosen image. Architecture at night will give a whole different perspective, with church windows and neon signs coming to life and of course, the light trails of traffic passing along the road capturing their fluidity of movement and how to get the right timing, especially popular on a visit to central London. Bearing all that in mind, the rule of thirds and composition are still key when taking your image to create something aesthetically pleasing and unique – not to forgetting to really look around you to see if there are other elements which can enhance and perhaps create something magical for your viewer. How to use torchlights imaginatively in movement, using different coloured gels to create patterns in the dark – and safely from your camera as you swing them around!

Antony then moved on to creative blur and being able to portray the emotion in an image you were experiencing at that moment; he presented a long exposure of a coastal scene with the sea gently coming into shore; the minimal movement gave a softness and ethereal feel to his image. From here we went to the Fun Fair where he showed a photo of a stationary helter-skelter with the big wheel in the background showing all its colours in a big spin; tips on how to pan at the race circuit, to convey the sense of speed and movement and how to make the best use of your ‘Bulb’ setting in camera. He advised not to make your image too abstract, as otherwise it will be difficult for your viewer to discern your emotion and the energy you wished to capture.

For extreme long exposure photography, Antony explained the best use of ND filters and how these can extend the boundaries of capturing strong images. He outlined the different types and how best these can be used, for example, in darkening down skies or the foreground or to help capture a long period of time. He presented different photos to demonstrate the effect and control of light by their use. He highlighted that if you are capturing an image for example of a bridge with a number of people on it, by using a 10ND they will simply ‘evaporate’ as if not there! He touched on the use of polarisers which are useful to reduce the glare on water or on wet rocks, to bring out the colour and texture of surrounding foliage – and to remember to rotate it in a clockwise direction which will avoid unscrewing inadvertently!

What a splendid and informative evening we enjoyed. From the tremendous photographs shown throughout the presentation, together with so many tips and techniques which we can employ. Now we all know what to do (and many of you were taking copious notes during the evening!), there really is no excuse not to get out with your camera and experiment and challenge yourself to create something a little different.

~ Janine Scola