Tourists! Ugh, I know brother… always getting in our way and walking in front of the camera at the most inopportune times, right? Who do they think they are anyways? That is how lots of photographers feel, much to my chagrin. Unless you are commissioned to shoot a particular area for a client then you must remember that we are all tourists in this world and as such we need to find ways to work around other people who may be enjoying the same scenery we are. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly an inconvenience when you’ve got the perfect shot framed and some family decides they are going to have an impromptu Bar Mitzvah right in front of your set up. If you can’t work up the nerve to politely ask them to step to the side for a moment while you snap a shot then
ask your wife to wait patiently or try the trick I’m going to show you below.
Long Exposure Shot To Eliminate Crowds
While walking around the city in the evening I wanted to get a shot of the building you see behind the white ghostly blur of a person. Unfortunately I didn’t have a neutral density filter with me so I couldn’t slow the shutter down slow enough to completely eliminate the crowd without blowing out the highlights where all the lights are. So the challenge falls on you.
Grab your camera, a tripod, and a neutral density filter (not sure what a ND filter is? Check out this article all about filters). Set your camera on the tripod, slow your shutter speed to 20 seconds and work from there. You can adjust the aperture if you find the ND filter isn’t strong enough to keep your highlights under control (choose a higher f/number to reduce the amount of light and increase the shutter speed).
You can increase the shutter speed until the crowd just fades away. You may have to try a few times as people in crowds have a tendency to linger and may end up looking like ghostly figures in the frame. Give it a try and then submit your successful attempts to the Photo Journal on the Submit an Article page. Good luck!