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Time in a Bottle

I like to shoot long exposures. Ever since I first saw an image with smoothed water flow, a river or waterfall I believe, I have been captivated by the camera's ability to expand and capture an image of motion over time. But I was still mildly surprised to discover that more than 80% of my images are shot with shutter speeds longer than 10 seconds. And more than 20% are two minutes or longer. The one at the top of this post, of the hammock at the St. Regis Bora Bora resort, was exposed for 4 minutes 30 seconds.

This image has a number of problems [the foggy effect caused by condensation on the lens, for example] and presented several challenges, not the least of which is that it took almost ten minutes to take. When working with a technical camera, long exposures generally require an additional "black reference frame" equal in duration to the initial exposure. Of course, this is a self-imposed difficulty. DSLRs [full frame or medium format such as the Phase One] generally make such calculations on their own, with little additional effort from the photographer and without requiring the photographer to wait another equal amount of time to see the LCD depiction of the image. And the light itself would have permitted a much shorter exposure. But I shot at ISO 35, an aperture of f/16, and I added two ND filters worth almost an additional 13 stops of light. Why? To let more time pass and be captured in the image.

Instead of a moment in time, I hope to create a place of time. Where time flows, and the record it leaves behind is something the eye would otherwise not see. A sense of place over time, an intimation of serenity.

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