Daytime Long Exposure

Long exposures are great for shooting stars, cities and more at night, but with filters and a few key pieces of gear it's possible to take one minute, five minute, even two hour photos in the middle of a sunny day.
Daytime long exposures allow you to smooth out waves in the ocean, make traffic disappear from the roads, make cities look void of people, capture amazing waterfall shots and more. (the last photo has a before and after photo of a long exposure)



Setting your camera to the lowest ISO, smallest aperture and slowest possible shutter speed in the middle of a sunny day will limit your photo to a 1/10th second exposure (or-so) at the most. To achieve longer exposure times you'll need to use ND Filters (neutral density) which act like sunglasses for your lenses and cut down the light. Because it's such a long exposure, you'll also need a sturdy tripod and an external remote to tell your camera how long the photo should be.

ISO 160, f/16, 1,080 secs

    Long Exposure Gear I Use

    • Canon 5DS
    • Canon L-Series Lenses
    • Canon Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3 (intervalometer)
    • Manfrotto MHXPRO-BHQ2 XPRO Ball Head
    • Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 Aluminum Tripod
    • LEE Filters Foundation Kit with Accessory Tandem Adapter
    • LEE Filters 100 x 100mm Big Stopper 3.0 Neutral Density Filter (10 Stop)
    • LEE Filters 100 x 100mm Super Stopper Neutral Density 4.5 Filter (15 Stop)
    • Exposure Guide App


    1. Mount your camera on a tripod and frame your scene. Set the focus and put your focus on "Manual." It's important to pre-focus, because once you put the ND Filter on it's impossible to see through your camera.
    2. Turn your camera to "Manual" mode and set your ISO to 50 (or 100 if your camera won't go to ISO 50).
    3. Set your aperture to the highest possible number. Most go up to around f/22.
    4. Adjust your shutter speed to a well-exposed photo, and take a picture to make sure it looks great.
    5. Open the "Exposure Guide" phone app, choose your ND filter from the list, and scroll the number to your current shutter speed.
    6. On your intervalometer, set the time to the Exposure Guide exposure.
    7. Set your camera on "Bulb" mode, and make sure the ISO and aperture are the same as your previous test photo.
    8. Mount the ND Filter to the front of your lens, start the intervalometer, and wait! Make sure not to bump the camera ... if it's windy, you should hang something heavy underneath the tripod to steady it, such as a sandbag or a backpack.