Photo By Mitch Lahey

Trail photography is a kind of Light Painting, which uses long exposure to make the light form a light trail on the screen. It is not for us to determine the shape of the light trail but for cars traveling in the city! Trail shooting is not difficult. You only need some common equipment and the right time and place. You can also take a beautiful light trail!

(Trick 1) Use a Tripod

Because long exposures must be used for shooting trails, it is impossible to hold the camera by hand. The shot is one-sixth of a second, even if your camera and lens have anti-shake, I believe that you can’t take a clear photo with a shutter slower than one second. However, when shooting trails, it usually takes at least one second, and almost half a day of the shutter, so using the tripod correctly is an important trick to ensure that you can shoot beautiful trails.

(Trick 2) Using the Shutter Release

The shutter release helps us stay stable. The shutter cable can be connected to the camera so that we can start the shutter without touching the camera. Don’t think that the impact when we press the shutter release button has little effect on the screen. Slight shaking can cause a considerable impact on the screen. If the camera has the function of pre-elevating the reflector, it may be used together to increase the picture stability.

(Trick 3) Use the B Shutter

When shooting the trail, we can first adjust to the B shutter. Then observe if the vehicles are moving too far away from the road. When the vehicle enters the screen, press the shutter to start light sensing. Stop the light-sensing after the car leaves, the biggest advantage of this is that the trail can be kept intact and there will not be a “truncated grass” light trail.

Photo By sector4

(Trick 4) Use the Appropriate ISO

Some people may think that it is necessary to use a high ISO when shooting at night, in fact, the opposite is true, especially when shooting car trails. The headlights and taillights are quite strong light sources, even if the ISO is not too high, the light trail can be captured. On the contrary, a too high ISO may cause the photosensitive element to show an afterimage of the car.  If you want to include other elements in addition to the trail, such as portraits and landscapes, you need to make changes depending on different situations.

Photo By kenny0622

(Trick 5) The Difference Between the Front and Rear Lights

In Hong Kong, in general, the headlights are white and the taillights are red. The brightness of the headlights is much stronger than the taillights. Therefore, we can use this difference to predict the picture and composition, or even the combination of the aperture shutter ISO when shooting at a high point such as an overpass.

(Tip 6) Predict Traffic Flow

Beautiful Star Track + Car Track Photograph By By Sweet Words

Shooting the trails is a time-consuming activity, and to catch the time often comes from the photographer’s preparation. A good location is very important, in addition to composition, you must also consider whether you can observe the direction of the traffic in advance. If you open the shutter when the car is around, it is usually difficult to take good pictures. Before the car reaches the screen, hold the shutter release and prepare to press the shutter!

(Tip 7) Use the Rear-Curtain Sync Flash

The so-called rear-curtain sync means that the flash fires just before the shutter closes. Using this technique, you generally want to get a clear picture of the foreground and background at the same time. This technique is very suitable for night portrait photography because you can make a long exposure to the background and at the same time get a portrait with a clear foreground. This technique is used when shooting the trails, and you can capture the back lanes, and the foreground is portraits, often very atmospheric!

(Tip 8) Be Careful and Safe

The shooting trail will always be close to the road, so we need to be very careful about safety. Don’t just look at the viewfinder without looking at the surrounding environment, it is better to choose the side of the road protected by railings for shooting to ensure safety.

Photo By Iyhon 萩

To Sum it Up

Today I shared with you a little trick of shooting the trails. I hope everyone can share with you the results of your shooting!


Author: G+X=?