Fairs and amusement parks are brilliantly lit with a whole range of coloured lights. These places can offer you innumerable instances to experiment with trails. Exposure: 1.3sec at f/14 (ISO 320) Photograph/Manish Mamtani
Posted in News
21/06/2022

Tripod Techniques: Catch Those Trails!

Long, winding streaks of light are quite easy to capture and can transform busy places into glowing lines.

Imagine that you are standing on a bridge and wish to capture streaks of rush hour traffic as it speeds past you. Maybe, you are at a fair and wish to capture the giant circles made by the ferris wheel. Here is where long exposures and tripods come to your rescue.

Streaks can perform the job of leading the viewer’s eye through the frame. You can even make two exposures, one for the night sky and one for the trails. Then make a composite image that shows the best of both worlds! Exposure: Details Not Available Photograph/ Manish Mamtani

Streaks can perform the job of leading the viewer’s eye through the frame. You can even make two exposures, one for the night sky and one for the trails. Then make a composite image that shows the best of both worlds! Exposure: Details Not Available Photograph/ Manish Mamtani

Be a Location Scout!
The ideal location could be at the top of a hill overlooking sharp turns or a straight road convering in the horizon. The best time to shoot at these places would be just after sunset with the traffic at its peak and some ambient light illuminating the sky. Look for a safe spot where you will be able to set up your tripod without inconveniencing motorists or putting yourself in harm’s way.

Fairs and amusement parks are brilliantly lit with a whole range of coloured lights. These places can offer you innumerable instances to experiment with trails. Exposure: 1.3sec at f/14 (ISO 320) Photograph/Manish Mamtani

Fairs and amusement parks are brilliantly lit with a whole range of coloured lights. These places can offer you innumerable instances to experiment with trails. Exposure: 1.3sec at f/14 (ISO 320) Photograph/Manish Mamtani

Use Live View
The best part about shooting with tripods, besides being hands-free, is that you can simply use Live View instead of bending and trying to peer through the viewfinder. If your camera has a tilt-and-swivel LCD, then nothing like it! Besides choosing a slow enough shutterspeed, low ISO value and narrow aperture, you need to anticipate the entry and exit of the vehicles in your frame.

Quick Tip
If you are already using a sturdy tripod and want to further weigh it down, you can use a weight hook on the centre column. You can then simply hang a weight, a sandbag or even your backpack from this hook.

For more cool tips on tripods, click here.

This article originally appeared in the March 2014 issue of Better Photography.

 

Tags: Shooting Technique, Ambarin Afsar, light trails, tripods, long exposure photography, cars, headlights, fairs, amusement parks

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