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  • Writer's pictureJane

Long exposure and a dog. Combining incongruous

I took this picture near a waterfall. If you want a soft/milky foam water effect, you should go for a long exposure of 1 sec or more, ideally 2-5 seconds. Many of you know it, I believe. But what if you want to get a dog portrait near the soft milky waterfall? What obstacles will you face, and how to deal with them?


An obvious fact is that you must use a tripod when you shoot with 1-sec exposure; otherwise, your picture will look fuzzy because your hands always have micro movements. A non-obvious fact, there should be a spot to place your tripod. The first thing I saw near the waterfall was a 45-degree incline and rocks everywhere. With such an incline and uneven rocks, your tripod will fall despite its weight. I had to prop it up with my shoulder, and yes, it led to fuzz, not much, but noticeable.

Remote shutter release

When you press any button, the camera moves, it’s also obvious, but many photographers forget about it. The best way to avoid it is to either use a remote shutter release function in the camera app or a shutter release delay.

ND filter

The reality is 1-sec shutter speed/F18/ISO80, forest, overcast weather, 1 hour before sunset. I wanted to use a 2-sec shutter speed, but I couldn’t. I must have had f30 or something to do that. To avoid this problem, you can buy an ND filter. ND64 is a 6-stop darkening filter. You can go for it or consider even darker ones.


Just a couple of words about my experience. Chester can sit still, at least visually, but the camera doesn’t think so. I’ve got a significant fuzzy effect starting from ss=1/3sec. Another interesting observation, there is wind outside. Even if you don’t notice it, it exists. Long dog hair+air movement = fuzzy pictures. So, I guess you understand that I don’t recommend shooting dogs using long exposure settings.

What to do if you want such a shot?

  • Buy a tripod and an ND filter (6 stops+)

  • Make sure in advance that there is a spot to place your tripod

  • Use a remote shutter release

  • Shoot water with a 1-sec shutter speed or more. Don’t move your camera and tripod.

  • Shoot a dog with the same point of view using the typical shutter speed for sitting dogs (I usually use 1/250)

  • Combine 2 pics in Photoshop in 1 min


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