Moving Waves: long exposure photography with a smartphone

On my 2022 return to workshops and photo tours around the area I call the Atlantic Realm I introduce another challenge: photographing moving waves with a smartphone, at noon!

Smartphones and computational photography can help make long exposures simple, but if you want to get the best result, you need to go manual and know how it’s done the good old ways. That’s what I invite participants in this photo tour to do: refuse to just press a button for some smartphone gimmick and do their own long-exposure photographs of waves at low-tide.

This tour started with a “spot the difference” article I published here recently. I used two images, one made with computational photography, the other created… manually. The article followed a previous Facebook note which showed only the photo created using the smartphone’s AI, which attracted the attention from many users. Comparing the two images published then, I felt a much better photograph could/can be created if you do it by hand, meaning you use the limited control features available in your smartphone to emulate what photographers do with their cameras.

A series of patterns created by long-exposures, shot with a smartphone

Another aspect of the photographs used as illustration here that interests me is that these long-exposures are created in the middle of the day, something that is not very common, as people usually associate long-exposure with photos captured at the first hours of dawn or at the end of a day, While those imaged do have their place, I always loved the challenge of doing this type of photography in the middle of the day, which allows photographers to keep shooting even when the Sun is high, and so make the most of the day creatively, which is paramount if you’re visiting a place that you do not go to often. Besides, you get a completely new spectrum of colors that works to make a different impression on viewers.

This photo tour is a three -hour adventure of discovery using a smartphone

If you come to smartphones from photography, you know the techniques to apply, but I’ve found that many people using smartphones do not know how to go beyond the snapshot images many people believe are the only thing smartphone cameras can do. That’s the reasoning behind my decision to create this tour, which not only takes people to some of the spots I use for my own photography, but also allows them to learn the techniques and use the accessories needed to try this type of photography. Just bring your smartphone and tripod!

I’ve set a first date on March for this photo tour, but I am open to organize other dates with people (preferably during the week), if they can find two other friends to make the photo tour happen. This is only limited by the flow of tides on the Atlantic Realm coast, so each date must be defined according to the tide-calendar for the areas I usually explore.

Follow the link to find more about the Moving Waves Smartphone Photo Tour.

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Jose Antunes

Jose Antunes

I am a writer and photographer based on the West coast of continental Europe, a place to see the Sun die on the Sea, every day.