Imperial Beach San Diego Long Exposure Photos

hand holding long exposures at ocean level at Imperial Beach San Diego California

Long Exposures + Ocean = Dreamscape

If you asked me, I would tell you that a tripod is a must for making long exposure photos. In fact, I have already shared some long exposure ocean photos from San Diego featuring the Ocean Beach Pier that were all shot with my Nikon mounted on a tripod. That said, if getting a tack sharp image is not needed, handholding a slightly long exposure photo, especially with a lens that has VR (vibration reduction), can produce some very cool shots. The latter was the method I used to hold my Nikon right above the incoming water at Imperial Beach, San Diego, California at sunset. Why do a long exposure? Because it makes the water look like stretched out cotton. I like to call them dreamscape photos instead of just landscape. In the above shot you might easily think it was taken from a boat in deep water, when in reality it was me in less than ankle deep water letting that few inches of water whoosh past me as the camera’s shutter stayed open for 1/6th of a second.

Wait? 1/6th of a second does not sound very long to me!

Even though it’s only a small fraction of a second, to a camera, it’s a long time, especially if in frame is a fast moving subject, in this case the incoming ocean water. In the Ocean Beach Pier long exposure photos, since it was darker out, I could leave the exposure open for longer, upwards of 30 seconds, which you also need a tripod to do. The tripod mounted long exposure technique is also awesome for carnival rides!

Imperial Beach streams in long exposure photography

Imperial Beach San Diego Black & White Sunset