Light Trails – Night Time Photography

Light Trails on the A140 at Diss

Light Trails on the A140 at Diss

We’re in the middle of winter here in the UK. We’ve just passed the shortest day (8-9 hours of day light), it’s easy to make excuses to stay at home in the warm, but I have been determined to get out more with my camera.  The sun was beginning to set on this Sunday afternoon when I decided it was time to try my hand at light trails again.  I had previously tried some inner city light trails with traffic lights and lit up buses – this was good practice, but I struggled to keep the camera steady, having only taken a monopod.  I learned from this previous experience and headed out with a tripod and a remote release to a bridge over the A140 near Diss.

I chose the only dual carriageway in the area and was lucky to also have a nice sweeping bend in the shot.  Although I thought I had left it too late, the sun had already set and the light was fading fast, I decided to continue anyway – after all, all practice is good practice.  Despite the apparent lack of light, I was surprised by the amount of detail and colour that was picked up in the sky.  I tried various exposure lengths – the 30 & 45 second exposures didn’t make the cut as the car lights became too bright and lost their appearance of movement.  I found that 10 second exposures seemed to work best, getting enough vehicles in the shot and allowing them to cover the whole of the stretch of road in view, whilst still maintaining the slightly ghostly look of movement.  As I was packing up, it slowly began to rain, although at the time I thought I had been lucky with the weather, I now want to try these again in the rain to see what effect the spray from the vehicles has on the images.

A140 Light TrailsA140 Light TrailsA140 Light Trails

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