Shooting Challenge: 1 Second

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Last week, you captured life at 1/1000 of a second. This week, your photographs will last 1000x as long. You will photograph one entire second of time.


The Challenge

Capture a photo with the shutter speed of 1 second. No faster or slower.

The Technique

1-second exposures are interesting because it opens up options for both daytime and nighttime submissions (though, during the day, you may want to use a neutral density filter - a simple filter that just cuts down on overall light).

The biggest, most important point - you'll need to secure your camera on a tripod or a ledge. (Though...see the link below on this point.) The other? Whenever you're taking long exposure shots, it's always good to keep your ISO low to cut down on the noise. In other words, your only remaining control over exposure (since ISO and shutter speed are sort of locked) is aperture.

For those who want some inspiration, here's a really nice rundown of some different styles of long exposures (not rivers or car trails). If you're a run and gun style photographer, this may be the link for you.

The Example

Our lead shot is by and.korn on flickr. Notice how water's texture softens during the long exposure, but the still rock in the front right of the shot retains 100% of its crispness.


The Rules

1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced (read more on that above).
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to, not me.
5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.
9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.


Send your best photo by Monday, May 30th at 8AM Eastern to with "One Second" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameSecond.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnameSecondWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!

Mark Wilson is the founder of photography blog Life, Panoramic and Philanthroper, a daily deal site for nonprofits.




All these fancy camera challenges makes me want a DSLR more and more. Does anyone know where I can get one on the cheap? Also, which cameras best for a beginner? Thanks in advance!