8-Minute-Long Exposure

By Rick Jacobi

Why would a person want to shoot an 8-Min-Long Exposure when you can shoot a 20 or 30 second exposure much easier? The answer is the effect of the water and or the sky in the photo. It is much smoother as example in the photos. Also, it is fun to try and will add another dimension to one’s photography.

Equipment needed:  16 ND filter or 10 and 6 ND filter

Tripod & Phone with a timer.


1 Set up your camera on a tripod for the composition and then manual focus the shot.

2 Aperture Priority mode. ISO 100

3 Turn the Aperture until the time shows 1/125 sec. on your camera. Remember this Aperture number.

Test Shot

4 Put on the 16ND filter.

5 Set camera to Manual mode not Aperture

6 Iso set 6400

7 Put in the Aperture from above.

8 Set time to 8 seconds.

This is a test shot. If it is too light or too dark adjust your Aperture.

By getting a test shot you don’t have to wait 8 minutes to see if it is the right exposure.

Once the Aperture is determined.

Finale shot

9 ISO back 100. Easy to forget this. I have done it many times leaving ISO on 6400 and the photo comes out way too light.

10 Time for 8 Minutes not 8 seconds.  I will set my phone to the 8 min timer. If the finale Aperture is below 3.5 then shoot for 10 minutes at 3.5.

11 Make sure you have the Aperture set to what you determined was the right one.

12 Keep in Manuel Mode

Doing these four or five times it becomes very easy to remember the steps.

I will usually turn my color photos into B&W using mostly Photoshop and little of Silver Effects. I get my B&W from Hue Saturation and Channels in Photoshop.

Try the 8 Minute Exposure.  It is fun.

Rick Jacobi is a Volunteer Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes