What is the bulb mode?
Tutorial to learn how to use the bulb mode on a camera
We have learned how to adjust shutter speed on a camera, but there is another way to use this setting by controlling the exposure time. “The Bulb mode”
In this tutorial we will learn what the bulb mode is and how to use it.
To fully understand the bulb mode you need to know how to adjust the shutter speed. See this tutorial.
What is the bulb mode?
The Bulb or pose B mode is a mode that acts on the pose time without determining it in advance.
The exposure time is controlled during shooting. You press the shutter release to open the shutter and it will remain open for as long as you hold the button.
A tripod is mandatory to avoid motion blurring for bulb mode. The use of a remote control will also be very convenient to avoid movements of the camera. Pressing the shutter release will also be easier. Press once to open the shutter. It will close only when you press the button again.
To access this mode set the exposure to M (manual) and increase the exposure time to the maximum. After 30 seconds the camera will switch to the bulb mode.
Photo edited in Lightroom. [Click here to learn how to use Lightroom.]
When to use the bulb mode
This mode allows to photograph scenes requiring an exposure of more than 30 seconds.
It is usually used to take photos at night, capture fireworks, lightning, or light painting. Some photographers also use it during the day to make smooth and flat sea from very rough sea for example, for the clouds moving in the sky, a river flowing peacefully, etc.
These filters are numbered, indicate the degree of opacity of the filter, and correspond to the multiplier value of the exposure time. It is possible to assemble several filters together, but if you do that, you will run the risk of vignetting.
Example: An ND8 filter screwed to an ND1000 filter will give you a total attenuation factor of 8000 times the initial exposure time.
There are two types of filters:
1. ND filters with a screw thread come (as their name indicates) to screw on the lens. The simplicity of use of these filters is an advantage, plus you can keep using the lens hood. On the other hand the screw-in ND filters have a very precise screw diameter, hence you will need to obtain a filter for each of your lenses according to its diameter.
2. ND filters on filter holders for bulb mode. The principle of these filters is the same as that of screw-in filters, only the fixing system changes. These filters are usually square and slide into a filter holder which is screwed onto the lens. The filter holder has a specific screw thread for the lens, but the filters fit all filter holders. You will then need to obtain a filter holder for each of your lenses according to its diameter.
A long exposure time of 3 years
The photo with the longest pose in the world was taken by the German photographer Michael Wesely during the construction of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Exposure time was from 2001 to 2004.
Long pose is an extraordinary world, but also difficult and requiring a lot of practice.
To become a master of time you will need to test several techniques and materials. Once you find what suits you best, the fabulous world of long exposure will be yours!
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Have a nice photoshoot!