2015 CHALLENGE, WEEK 35: Translucent Outdoor Long Exposures

Well I was thinking of breaking this one out for Halloween but I have an even better Challenge for that. So this will be kind of a training milestone for a future challenge. Meanwhile you may be wandering what I’m looking for. Well it’s a simple challenge as far as technical goes. Much simpler than the cross polarization. There’s no complex light science to figure out. Instead we’re dealing with time.  You’ll need to plan your time and work your scene elements.

Steve Troletti Photography: OUTDOORS / À L’EXTÉRIEUR &emdash; Was I Really There?

  1. You final image will have had to be exposed for a minimum of ten seconds for the effect to work properly and for it to be considered a long exposure.
  2. You’ll need to compose a background scene properly and outdoors since this is Outdoor Photography. Plan your composition so that you have a great image and not a snap shot looking one.
  3. The magic element will be your subject. It will have to be visible yet translucent.

It all needs to be accomplished in one single exposure. Not a composition of two or more images. Here’s the simple secret to creating your challenge.

The above image was exposed for 10 seconds. The Woman in the image sat still on the bench for the entire 10 seconds. At the 5 second mark the man, me, inserted himself in the image for the remainder of the exposure.

Ghost photographers

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsBefore working on the effect, make sure your scene, including the main subject are well exposed for the duration of the long exposure.   Depending on the time of day, you will need a filter to reduce the amount of light entering the lens. If it’s bright you may need a Variable Neutral Density Filter or a Neutral Density filter (ND Filter). In the reduced light conditions of the above image taken during the evening hours, you can get away with just closing down your aperture. A polarized filter will help you block 1 to 2 stops of light depending on the filter.


A tripod will be necessary. Long exposures demand that your camera remain stable for the duration of the exposure. In the case of the first image, the camera was set on a park garbage can and the delay timer set to 10 seconds.

HEADS UP: We’ll be needing an infrared filter for a future challenge. Preferably 720NM that fits your wide angle fix or zoom lens. I.E. 18-55 kit lens. An example would be the Hoya R72. Less expensive models are available online. Shop for sales. You do have over a moth as it won’t be for my next Challenge.

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+, Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org or #photochallenge2015.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • The posted image should be a photograph, not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2015 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.


About Steve Troletti

I'm a Location Scout, Editorial, Nature, Wildlife and Environmental Photographer based in Malibu, California. I specialize in Nature and Urban Nature photography including Infrared Landscapes. The Bulk of my work takes place in the Los Angeles, California area, Greater Montreal Region, Canada, Switzerland, France and Varese in Northern Italy. Ethical wildlife photography is the main priority and focus of my work. A minimum disturbance of the animals, their habitat and the environment is my top priority. This applies as much to total wilderness areas as it does to urban nature environments. Ongoing education of environmental issues and building awareness for the protection of wildlife and wilderness areas around the world is what drives me to document the beauty that surrounds us.