The Fuji X Pro 1 camera system is VERY WELL suited to this style of photography!
I just got back from leading an advanced photo workshop & excursion to the outer banks on Nags Head Island in the Outer Banks! The subject was HDR and Long Exposure Photography. It was an amazing workshop filled with great students and we visited amazing locations. What was so special about this was the sunrise locations at the Avalon Pier (which was broken into 3 parts) and the Outer Banks Fishing Pier. The wave conditions were a little high due the the North Easter having just passed and made for tough long exposures due the the required shutter speeds!
As you can see with the image on the left, the waters surface was still a little bit misty even with a 30 second exposure. The light was simply too bright and the waves too large to get a slower shutter speed. Still, the image is pleasing and as you can see from the blue sky it is just after the sunrise was finished.
Ok, some discussion on equipment is in order here.
- A sturdy tripod is a must. It must be able to hold the camera steady even if the water washes over the tripod legs. I use a large Gitzo Carbon Fiber Tripod with the Really Right Stuff large ball head on top. The X Pro 1 has the Really Right Stuff L bracket installed. This system works very well.
- A remote shutter release is also a must. The X Pro 1 can only use a mechanical one so I have two in my bag, a 14 inch and a 40 inch. Both have a BULB lock which enables you to lock the shutter open.
- A 10 stop and 6 stop ND filter. I like the B+W versions due to their German Schott Glass construction. BUT, be aware, the X Pro 1 (in fact most camera systems) cannot meter through the 10 stop ND filter. If you have a hand held spot meter you can get accurate exposures even with the ND filter!
- A lens hood is an absolute must for long exposures. This will keep light from striking the objective element of your lens and reducing contrast and causing lens flare.
- Know where the sun is going to rise! There are several great apps for smart phones out there that will tell you this right on the spot!
For rough seas, the longer you can get the exposure the smoother the water will become. The X Pro 1 will allow up to a 30 second exposure in the T mode. You simply use the arrow keys to change the exposure up or down, but 30 seconds is the max. For longer, you must use the BULB mode. The Fuji has a very well designed BULB mode! When you trip the shutter, a counter will start on the back LCD screen counting up! This makes for very easy timing control. Here then is an example of a 90 second exposure in both Black & White and color.
Not all long exposures require such a long shutter speed. For some a shorter speed can generate a nice image as well. Here are two for your consideration. The first is simply a daylight shot of a creek mouth into the bay but with the exposure slow enough to smooth out the water and show a little pattern there! This was a 15 second exposure using the incredible Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f/1.8 Lens with the Fuji M mount adapter shot at f/16 and ISO 200.
You can see patterns in the water just at the point on the right side.
The second image is of the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse at sunrise. This was a .3 second exposure at f/3.2. This image was a bit challenging as I wanted detail in the front of the lighthouse. I used a Sekonic 758 DR hand held spot meter to measure the building and set the exposure accordingly. This is a very easy to use metering system and will NEVER fail you in use. Sometimes you simply cannot use the cameras metering system to get the proper exposure. This is always a factor when you are using ND filter attached to the lens!
For this shot I used the Fuji 35mm lens with a lens hood attached to keep incident light from striking the objective element at an angle.
Here are a few more sample images for you to think about. I hope that you enjoy them!
So, take heart, get a ND filter and go out and try some long exposures at sunrise or sunset. If you do not have access to the ocean then use the exposures to slow the motion of the Clouds! There are all sorts of possibilities out there for you to experiment with!