How to Shoot in Bulb Mode?

ISO-100 f/8 172.3 sec

If one wants to shoot long exposures of over 30 seconds then it will be necessary to shoot in bulb mode. What bulb mode allows us to do is to increase the shutter time from 30 seconds to infinity and for this task, we need a steady tripod, an ND filter and a remote release shutter cable. With an ND filter, we will know how much light we are blocking and then it becomes easier to calculate the new shutter speed. For example when composing the initial frame, if the shutter is 1/4 second and aperture is set to f/11, on using a 10 stop ND filter will increase the shutter to 4 minutes 16 seconds. For this we will need a shutter remote. There are 4 parameters on the remote which will require to be set: Delay, Long, Interval and N. Delay is how long the camera is take the photo once shutter is pressed down and I usually set this to 10 seconds. Long is how long the exposure will be so in this case, I set it to 4 min 16 seconds. Interval is the time gap between each shot so if I was to take 5 shots, then I would set the interval to 5 seconds. N is the number of shots.

 

  • Step 1: The first step is to compose the shot on a steady tripod in manual mode.
  • Step 2: Attach the remote release shutter cable to the camera and switch to bulb mode.
  • Step 3: Once happy with the shot, attach the 10 stop ND filter to the front of the camera lens.
  • Step 4: Switch from auto focus to manual focus.
  • Step 5: Using the shutter remote set the value of the various parameters.
  • Step 6: Once done, press the start button on the remote and wait for final result.

Shooting long exposures can be very atmospheric. One can record movement of clouds, water etc while everything else remains still.