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Long Exposure Photography
February 13, 2016

How you can Fix Light Leakages in Long Exposure Photography

If you have tried out long exposure photography, you might have seen light leakage issues in your images. For that uninitiated – the digital camera is a light tight body that is supposed to allow light in just one end only, and that’s the leading from the lens. Light only enters whenever you press the shutter release. Normally, the digital camera wouldn’t allow light to go in through any other opening in the camera. However, unless you possess a badly manufactured camera, there is typically only one source that could potentially harm your photos, and that’s your own camera’s viewfinder. Let’s discuss what you can do to mitigate light leaks during those long exposures.

Long Exposure Photography

The Source from the Problem

As I have stated, the chief culprit is definitely the viewfinder. Being essentially a little visual path that receives light bounced from the prism and mirror inside the camera, many times, it does the reverse of their job too. Light enters with the viewfinder and bounces from the prism and mirror and then goes to the sensor. Normally, you wouldn’t check this out as a problem, however when you take long exposures, it can produce major issues. This is not unique to digital camera models only, film camera have this issue too. However, compact cameras and those with no optical viewfinder do not are afflicted by this specific problem.

Some photographers find it difficult to recognize the origin from the problem. Many grumble that it’s their ND filter that caused weird light streaks in images. If you’ve been thinking exactly the same, perhaps it’s time to revisit this topic again – you might find your ND filter to become perfectly fine! The issue if so probably lies somewhere else, specifically in the viewfinder.

Long Exposure Photography

Light Leaks in Images

They could be horizontally as well as vertical. They’re specifically aggravating for any landscape professional photographer, who may have had set his camera to capture a sluggish shutter speed time-lapse and after a long time of shooting gets a huge number of photos with light streaks on them. A really annoying and irritating experience!

Why Light Leaks Affect Long Exposures More Than Normal ExposuresWhenever you make long exposures, there is that rather more time for even a little bit of light leak to produce strong streaks in the whole picture. Normal exposures lasting for just a fraction of a second wouldn’t be enough for light leakage to really affect a picture.

Since photographers normally shoot long exposure pictures using ND filter systems, these filter systems, or sometimes even lenses are usually blamed with this problem (yes, some lenses could possibly create light leaks as well, but that’s extraordinary and typically happens on extended exposures).

How to Eliminate Light Leaks

There is a lengthy and sophisticated tactic to resolve light seepage using Photoshop or any other photo editing tools, but the results may not be very convincing and it is often too much work to even bother attempting to repair such leaks in post. For those who have alarge amount of images to edit, it’s far easier to shoot all of them over again, than dealing with that nonsensical post-processing workflow. It is easier to prevent them from happening to begin with, instead of attempt to overcome them afterwards.

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