Tag Archives: Long Exposure

Out there, again.

A while ago, I shared a post about submitting my work to exhibits otherwise known as call for entry.  In that post I explained why I spend the time, money, and emotional energy doing this: Entering images provides me with another outlet for my work, a way to have BNF’s (big names in the field) see my work, and to receive some feedback on it, even if that feedback is simply being accepted or not.   Having work accepted for an exhibit helps me to build a resume that shows my work has been exhibited at the national level.  And it’s just fun!

I’ve been up to it again recently.  The themes for three calls for entry seemed to fit with some of my work.

Photo Place Gallery in Middlebury, VT had a call for the theme, Capturing the Light. None of the images I submitted were selected for the exhibit, but you can see the final selections here.

The Northern Virginia Alliance of Camera Clubs (NVACC) is currently putting together their 8th Annual Joseph Miller Abstract Exhibit.  This is a new venue for me but it was appealing because it is in my new home state and because much of my work falls into the category of abstract, so I thought this call for entry would be worth a submission.  Do you think any of these six images will be accepted?  Results are due this weekend.

The SE Center for Photography in Greenville, SC. is also a new venue for me apply to a call for entry.  They currently have a call for the theme Seasons.  “Spring is fast approaching and what better time to celebrate the use of color in photography. We usually think of color and seasons to mean landscapes, but this time let’s not limit it to just the landscape, or Spring. All subject matter relating to seasons, digital, analog or alternative methods.”   What do you think the chances are for these images?  Results will be announced next week.

I recently found this wonderful article by Douglas Beasley, a well respected photographer, on what it’s like for a juror.  It helps put the whole process in perspective for those entering their work.

I’ll let you know next week how my images did in the Abstract and the Seasons exhibits.




The results are in!

A couple of weeks ago, in the post Out There, I shared some images that I had submitted to a call for entry at the A Smith Gallery with the theme, Vistas.  Yesterday, the juror’s choices were announced and I was pleased to have the image, The View from Shore #10, accepted for the exhibit.

View from Shore #10
On exhibit at A Smith Gallery, Johnson City, TX, November 3 to December 17, 2017.

Dan Burkholder was the juror for this exhibit.  As I mentioned in the earlier post, each call for entry has a different juror.  While each juror is very capable and accomplished, they too have personal preferences.  It’s fun to see what sort of images are accepted.  Was this one of your choices?

You can view all the images that were accepted here in this online gallery (click on the images to advance through the entire exhibit).  Of course, if you happen to be in the Johnson City area in November, stop in and check it out in person.  It’s a great gallery.

Now I need to get a print sent to the gallery!

Impressionism and Photography

One of my favorite art movements has always been Impressionism.  This quote sums up what appeals the most to me about Impressionism, the methods served to “emphasise the artist’s perception of the subject matter as much as the subject itself.”

It’s no surprise, then, that I enjoy capturing  the feeling of a scene rather than documenting how it looks.  One of the ways I do this is by a fancy technique I call “swooshing”.  There’s a more technical term for it, Intentional Camera Movement or ICM.  I much prefer to call it swooshing.

The basic technique involves slow shutter speeds, in the range of 1/30 of a second up to 1 second.  As you press the shutter you move the camera.  The results depend on how fast you move, what direction you move the camera, what the shutter speed is, your subject, the light, and more.  The resulting image depends a great deal on the play of light and color, just as in Impressionism in painting.

With photographic impressionism, there is skill to it but also a bit of serendipity.  You never exactly know what you will get.  I enjoy the combination of skill and surprise.

The more you practice, the better you get at judging what will work best but there are always surprises.  It’s definitely not a one shot and done technique. Often it takes at least 4 or 5 shots to get one that is pleasing.

For me, these images evoke an emotional response much more than static, documentary type images ever can.

This is not a new technique for me but I’ve been playing with swooshing a lot in the past few months and thought I’d share just a few of my favorites.

Fine art photograph of water reflections.

Reflections on a stream.

Fine art impressionistic photography of tree branches.

Looking up at the trees and swirling the camera while it takes multiple exposures.

Fine art impressionistic photograph of water.

Shoreline along the canal.

Fine art photograph of Yellowstone Lake.

Yellowstone Lake.

Fine art impressionistic photograph of fire ravaged trees in Yellowstone National Park.

Vertical swoosh of fire ravaged trees in Yellowstone National Park.

Fine art impressionistic photograph of aspens in Yellowstone National Park.

Dappled sunlight in a grove of Aspens captured with a vertical swoosh.

When you look at a scene, think of how it makes you feel rather than what it looks like, even if you don’t have a camera in your hand.  Record the feeling in your soul. 

Piseco Lake Gloaming

Piseco Lake is in the southern portion of the Adirondack mountains of New York state.   It’s a place that holds memories of many special times with our family.  For ten years, each summer, we rented the same cabin  for a week, the same cabin that looks out on this view.

I’ve been working for some time with images of water as well as long exposure images.  Several weeks ago, I made a point to drive up to Piseco Lake to try and capture that beautiful spot and the feelings that it holds for me.  I was rewarded with a spectacular light show that evening, not a showy sunset but gentle, quiet colors that better suited my feelings about Piseco. There’s another word for twilight that I just love. It shows up in Scottish stories a lot … the gloaming. The colors that night were exactly what I always envision when I hear that word.

The first image is a straight photograph with a “regular” exposure, that stops any movement and freezes the moment.  In the second two images I played a bit with a longer exposure, about a second or two, and moved the camera while pushing the shutter.  For me, the long exposure images have more emotion embedded in them and are closer to expressing how I feel about that place.  Does one of these speak to you more than the others?

Piseco Twilight ©Gail Haile

Piseco Twilight ©Gail Haile

Piseco Twilight 2 ©Gail Haile

Piseco Twilight 2 ©Gail Haile

Piseco Twilight 3 ©Gail Haile

Piseco Twilight 3 ©Gail Haile

Connecticut River Valley Colors

The Connecticut River Valley, specifically Chester, CT,  is where I was born.  It’s where my father’s family lived and farmed for generations.  On a perfectly picturesque day a couple of weeks ago, we met with old friends and enjoyed a steam engine ride along the shores of the Connecticut River, traveling past small towns whose names play a large role in my family story. Part of the trip included disembarking from the train and boarding a riverboat for a cruise along the Connecticut River, offering a wonderfully different perspective than the train.

The fall colors were putting on a show and I took the opportunity to continue my play with long exposures.  Either the camera or the subject and sometimes both, were moving during the exposure to create these impressions of that beautiful day along the Connecticut River.

Have you been able to get out an enjoy the fall colors?  What are the fall colors like in your area?

Connecticut River Valley Colors ©Gail S. Haile

Connecticut River Valley Colors ©Gail S. Haile

Connecticut River Colors 1 ©Gail Haile

Connecticut River Colors 1 ©Gail Haile

Connecticut River Colors 2 ©Gail Haile

Connecticut River Colors 2 ©Gail Haile

Going with the Flow

We’ve all had those times when things work against us.  When we traveled recently to Delaware, even though water scenes are among my favorite subjects, I did not take all my “good” equipment that I normally use to capture those scenes.  There were a total of 19 different family members  gathering that week. I knew that the week was mostly about family so kept it simple and only took my small Canon G-16, a great point and shoot that still allows  a good deal of control with image making.  I also happen to have a waterproof covering for that camera so thought I might get in some play time with that.  I had it so well planned.  🙂

The second or third day in to the week, I went to take a picture and the lens on my camera stuck.  No matter what I did the lens would not open fully.  I determined pretty quickly that I needed to stop trying to get it to work or I could cause further damage.  I was afraid that a grain of sand had made it’s way into the lens mechanism.  I was feeling more than a bit sick. Meanwhile memories were being made so rather than spend time stressing about my camera, I put it away and got back to flying kites and playing in the sand.

The rest of the week, I took just a few images with my phone, definitely not my preferred equipment, but I was just capturing a few moments.  It was a great week with many great memories created.

Our last night at the beach was the best of the week.  It was a perfect evening with gorgeous soft colors to the sky and water.  I admit I was feeling just a bit sad that I didn’t have a camera to capture that softness.  My son-in-law could tell how I was feeling and offered his camera to me.  It’s a great camera and I was quite happy to accept.  Still, normally when I work on images like this, I’ve used a tripod, my Nikon D800 camera, a large lens, a remote shutter and timer, among other things.  Now I had just a camera and one I was not accustomed to at that.  But I was so happy to just play and see what I could make work given what I had.  I took 30 or 40 images playing with 1 and 2 second exposures.  It’s difficult to hand hold a camera for that long of an exposure and not have it just look blurry.  Many of the images were just that, bad blurry images.  With the 3 images below, though, I carefully panned the camera during the exposure, dragging it slowly and steadily across the scene during those 2 seconds.  It seemed, at the time, that this was working but I couldn’t really tell until I received the image files this past week.

Sometimes you have to just go with the flow.  It can be a good exercise in creativity as it forces you to get out of your normal way of doing things and try something new.  I’m glad that I had that experience and pleased that these 3 images match my vision for the scene.  The soft colors and flow capture the mood on the beach that evening.   I will definitely give that technique a try another time.

Beach Flow 1  ©GailHaile

Beach Flow 1 ©GailHaile

Beach Flow 2  ©GailHaile

Beach Flow 2 ©GailHaile

Beach Flow  3  ©GailHaile

Beach Flow 3 ©GailHaile

 When have you had to go with the flow?  Was it a good experience?

PS  My camera was sent in for repair and returned in full working order and it was all under warranty. 🙂

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Hope in the Winter Woods: Second Look

Recently, I began a practice of going back into my archives and pulling out images that I had forgotten about, something I call Second Look.  There are 100’s of thousands of images in my archives. I am a classic over-shooter.  It’s not unusual for me to be on a trip and come home with 5,000 images. When I get back to the studio, I download the images, but often have to get back to other work.  It may be a while, sometimes even years till I took at those images.   So I have lots of material just waiting for that second look.   (more…)

Fourth Friday: Slow Sunsets

I’m still processing, literally and figuratively, all my images from Block Island.  On this final Friday of the month I’d thought I’d share a few sunset images.  Who doesn’t like a good sunset?  Everyone loves them and photographs them to the point that I’ve been known, in my snippier moments,  to say that I don’t photograph sunsets.  But here I was in this glorious place with the ocean and the wide open spaces, so why not spend at least one evening trying to capture that magic?  Oh what an evening this was!  Most of the week that I was on Block Island was completely void of clouds, nothing but pure blue wide open skies.  That’s nice but doesn’t make for very interesting images of sunsets, necessarily.  It good to have something for the light and color to bounce off.  Finally on the 6th day, we had clouds.  So I headed to the old Coast Guard Station at the end of Champlin Rd.  Then I hiked all the way out to the end of the point that is the entrance to the Great Salt Pond and around  to the beach that overlooks the Block Island Sound, the space of ocean between Block Island and the Connecticut coast.  (if you’re interested you can see it on the map here. I was in the yellow area)  I only saw one person and his 2 dogs for the 2 hours that I spent on that beach.  So peaceful!

I wanted to somehow capture the magic of the sunset but in a way that caused one to see it somehow differently.  Being around the water was a perfect opportunity to practice my long exposures so I figured I’d see what that did for sunsets.

This first image was captured about a half hour before sunset.  You can see that the sun is still up in the clouds but it was starting to create come interesting colors.  This was a 50 second exposure which shows in the smoothness of the water and the movement of the clouds.   Waves were crashing on the beach, but over 50 seconds they get smoothed over and you no longer see them.  That tended to exaggerate the colors in the water.


This image was taken just a bit past actual sunset with 58 seconds of exposure.  That means the shutter was open for almost a minute, letting light in all that time and recording the movement of the water and clouds.  I like the way the light reflects off the water where it hits the beach, that one strip of golden light against the dark blue of the water and darker blue of the beach.



This was taken almost 10 minutes later, well past actual sunset.  It is a long exposure of a different kind.  I call this a “swoosh”.  The exposure time is 1/4 of a second, far less than the previous two that were closer to a minute long.  One quarter of a second sounds pretty fast but in photography, with anything slower than about 1/6oth of a second or faster any sort of movement can cause the image to be out of focus and blurred.  That’s not always good, unless that is what you want.  I love to shoot this kind of image.  It seems like pure play.  It takes a bit of practice to get it to create anything pleasing but it’s great fun.  I put the camera on a slower shutter speed, hand hold it, and purposely move it during that 1/4 of a second or whatever the exposure is.  In this case, I knew I wanted to exaggerate the lines of the beach and horizon, so as I pressed the shutter I also moved the camera along those lines, like a swoosh.  It’s a bit more abstract, but I tend to like that.

BI_0983sq bordered_©GSHaile

How can slowing down help you to see things differently?

I have lots more to share from Block Island and other adventures but that’s all for today.


Fourth Friday 6/28/2013

Last month, I started a new series of blog posts that I called Final Friday.  The idea was that I would share a few or several images from the past month as a way of showing you what sorts of things I was working on. I liked the idea but decided it needed a better name.  Final Friday just sounds so, well, final.  But alliteration is so catchy.  Today I realized, though,  that the final Friday of each month is either the  fourth Friday or the fifth Friday.  So, problem solved.  🙂

I’ve chosen five images for this Fourth Friday post that represent the two main subjects that I was photographing this month, Block Island and roses.

Block Island

Block Island is the smaller and  lesser known island of the group that runs from West to East with Long Island, then Block Island , then Martha’s Vineyard, and finally Nantucket.  It’s part of  and directly south of the mainland portion of Rhode Island.  Words utterly fail me when I try to describe the beauty and spirit of this island.

Being surrounded by water, it was the perfect time to try some more long exposure images.   (I’ve talked about long exposure photography in 2 previous posts, Slowing Down and Do what you Cannot Do . )  We hit every beach on the island but this is Clay Head Beach which requires a hike in to.  It’s so very worth the hike!


Clay Head Beach_Block Island_©GSHaile



This scene in on Champlin Road, a long dirt road that we were taking down to yet another beach.  The red and gold grasses on the far side of the water were undulating in the wind and truly appeared as waves.  I tried this scene as a long exposure but it didn’t have the right feel.  This image is actually a panoramic that combines about 6 different images to capture the full scope of this view of one of the old farms on the island.


Champlin Road Block Island_©GSHaile


There are 2 lighthouses on Block Island.  The Southeast Lighthouse was offering tours that weekend so we gladly made our donations for the privilege of climbing these stairs to the top where we were treated with a wonderful bird’s eye view of the island.  I was really struck by the graphic nature of the steps and their shadow against the old brick.


Lighthouse Steps_©GSHaile




I’ve  been taking more time to do one of my favorite types of photography, flowers in the studio.  In taking flowers out of their natural environment and isolating them, it seems to bring more attention to their beauty.  They become a series of lines and shapes and colors and we can appreciate them in a new way.  I have some new equipment that makes even more things possible so I’ve been experimenting a great deal.

A fellow artist brought me these roses from her garden.  In this first image the rose is placed on a lightbox and photographed so that the light is coming through. It’s actually a composite of 5 images, each one a different exposure.  The five images are stacked in Photoshop and blended by hand painting in the areas of light and dark.


Yellow Rose_©GSHaile


One of the new pieces of equipment I have is a telephoto macro lens, designed to focus close up.  This is one of my favorites from experimenting with the new lens.  I also painted it a bit with a customized effect in Alien Skin’s  Snap Art.  Snap Art is another thing I have been playing with lately, going beyond the automatic settings to achieve my own effects.


Yellow Rose 2_©GSHaile


Hope you’ve had a good month.  Let me know how you’ve been creating and experimenting.

Slowing down

Earlier this year, some online artist friends, instead of doing New Year’s Resolutions, were choosing a Word of the Year, one word that represented something that they would focus on throughout the year.

That made me stop and think, if I were choosing one word for the year what would it be?  I pondered that for a few days and then started to just scribble down ideas.  What poured out very quickly was “slow down, take time, stop, breathe, be, what is essential?, what will matter in 10 years?”  Gee, I thought, guess I need to slow things down.

I can get so excited and enthused about ideas, as well as easily distracted, that I sometimes am simply rushing from one wonderful thing/idea to another wonderful thing/idea.  Doesn’t sound like a problem but when you don’t savor being in the moment or stop to celebrate accomplishments or simply stop to think, life can become too frantic, under appreciated, and (this is a big one) unintentional.  I was so struck by this, that I designed this postcard that I now have posted all around my house and office, to remind me of that.  It really is helping in so very many areas of my life.  I feel like I’m actually more “productive” (hate that word) by slowing down and focusing more, rather than rushing to do more.




For a very long time, I have been fascinated with long exposure photography.  (No, I didn’t change subjects, hang in there.) Very basically, it’s a way to create photographic images where the camera’s shutter is open for long periods of time, from 30 seconds to possibly hours as opposed to the typical 1/125th of a second that records most images. There had been a couple of failed attempts at it a few years ago.  Then, I had tried it a bit last fall and written about it here and explained in more detail what is involved.  Mostly, I didn’t make myself get out and try it.  I am definitely one who works better with some sort of accountability, especially in the learning phases.  So, I signed myself up for an online class in Long Exposure Photography that started at the end of January.  We have online videos and tutorials that can be watched whenever,  assignments to go out and try on our own, due dates (that’s an important one) and then wonderful online critiques of all our images.

What struck me one day, as I was standing in a pasture on a relatively balmy 35 degree morning, taking 4 minute exposures of a barn while the wind blew the fluffy, morning sun-kissed clouds across the sky, was that this also was slowing down.  Often, when capturing images, they are quick shots, fleeting moments caught in a literal split second.  One of my strengths as a portrait photographer is a quick finger on the shutter when that perfect expression (not necessarily a smile) shows up, always watching for it.  When shooting in a new place to which I’ve traveled, I often try to capture those quick glimpses of life in that place.  I have an ability to quickly pick out interesting scenes in all the newness of the experience  but that brings with it a certain hyper vigilance.  There is always a hurried effort to “get it”.

In contrast, with long exposures I am forced to slow down a great deal, and not just the actual shutter time.   I  must slow down.  It is a different way of shooting entirely and I need to, at least at this point, be very methodical about making sure I’ve set everything up properly… find the right scene, time of day, weather conditions, and position, set up the tripod, mount the camera on the tripod, attach the remote shutter release/timer, determine the “normal” exposure, calculate the long exposure, put the darkening ( neutral density) filters on the lens that causes the light to enter the camera more slowly, cover the eyepiece so that no extra light enters that way, set the timer, wait for the exposure, wait for the camera to process the exposure, check the results, repeat.  The camera takes as long to process the image as the original exposure took, so if it was a 4 minute exposure (the shutter was open for 4 minutes), the camera then takes another 4 minutes to process that exposure.  So you have 8 minutes of waiting.  That is all vastly different from other ways of photographing.  It’s all quite a bit like meditation through photography.

Here are a few of my initial attempts with the long exposure images.  The clouds and water have smoothed out because their movements have been recorded over the whole length of the exposure.  (The background image on my postcard is also and long exposure image that I talked about in this post.)  As I’m learning and practicing, I’m still pondering how I can best use this technique in a way that is unique to me.

Long Exposure_1_©GSHaile

Long Exposure_3_©GSHaile Long Exposure_2_©GSHaile

Intention is the thing that most strikes me as the benefit of slowing down.  Whether creating an image or taking time to write out an agenda for my work day or planning what our meals will be for the next few days, slowing down creates more intentional living.  I am (more than before) in charge of what happens each day which creates a calmer demeanor and a greater feeling of being in control.  I’m not a control freak but being a bit more in control means that I am not living life in reaction mode. I am deciding (mostly) the path I choose for my days and weeks and longer.  I am more intentional by slowing down.  I have, by no means perfected this slowing down/intentional living thing.  I still have my moments of following random bunny trails that hold some shiny new idea but my postcard and my experiences with the long exposure photography serve as reminders of the benefits of slowing down.

So that’s my “how to” for being more productive, more intentional, just more.

“Slow Down,

Take Time,




What is essential?,

What will matter in ten years?”

As with everything in life, it’s a journey.


This blog post is part of the monthly blog circle of which I am a part.  Our theme for this month is “How to…”, so if you would like to have a good dose of  how to do all sorts of  things spend a bit of time visiting the blogs of these other creative women from all over the world.  The next woman in the circle is the writer/poet Karrlin Bain  ( https://karrlinbain.blogspot.com/ ).

If should just get lost along the way, here is the entire list of women and their blogs that are participating this month.  Enjoy!

Becky Cavender


Gail Haile


Karrlin Bain


 Vickie Martin


 Amy Riddle


Michelle Hill


Laly Mille


Jean Wagner


Naz Laila


Nancy Lennon