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How do you get light leak problems? When you push the shutter release, the shutter opens, allowing the light to enter. Mohit Bansal Chandigarh explains a few ways to reduce light leaks in long-exposure photography.

What is Long Exposure Photography 

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We were fortunate enough to ask Mohit Bansal Chandigarh about the same. Here’s what he has to say:

Long Exposure Photography is a type of photography that utilizes long exposures or slow shutter speeds. By doing so, we may blur moving components such as automobiles, water, and clouds to produce images with a creative and distinctive appearance. In other terms, long exposure refers to a method in which the shutter remains open for an extended amount of time. Therefore, rather than taking a picture in a fraction of a second, you must press the shutter button and frequently wait minutes or even hours for the exposure to end! Long Exposure Photography occurs when the shutter speed is sluggish in order to acquire crisp handheld images.

The shutter speed changes based on the camera’s focal length and aperture. Long Exposure Photography is prevalent in a variety of genres, including architecture, landscape, street, abstract, and cultural photography. The method is more prevalent in some areas of photography, yet it has a wide range of applications. Long exposure photography is based entirely on experimentation. You can use it for so many other types of photography; your imagination is the only limitation. Long exposure photography is a fantastic method for producing captivating and distinctive photographs. However, it needs more forethought than “normal” photography, and mistakes may be more apparent. With the proper equipment, long exposure photography may be performed at any time. However, it is advisable to begin long exposure photography extremely early in the morning or very late in the evening. During this period, the low light levels will allow for exceptionally long exposures.

What Are Light Leaks

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Expanding the shutter speed and taking photos using the method of long exposure photography can result in stunning photographs. However, like with any approach, there are extra considerations to make in order to minimize image degradation. There are a number of such considerations when working with a slow shutter speed, but one that is sometimes overlooked is light leakage. These are frequent when employing neutral density filters and are practically hard to correct in post-production. 

Light leaks happen in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, but they are most frequently observed as an undesirable glare or glow in the image’s corners. In severe circumstances, they appear as a big discolored patch that covers a substantial portion of the frame. As you can see, such light leaks are virtually hard to correct in post-production. It is something that must be addressed in the field. Long exposure photography has a higher incidence of light leaks. Therefore, it is less probable that you will see them while using “standard” shutter speeds.

If they appear in every photograph, however, it indicates that your lens or camera is broken. We utilize darkening filters to accomplish this slow shutter speed, which explains why they appear more frequently in long-exposure photography. This indicates that additional light is required for a properly exposed photograph. However, tiny holes or spaces might expose the camera’s sensor to more light, resulting in these undesirable effects.

Why Long Exposure Light Leaks Are Worse

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Long exposures allow more time for even a tiny quantity of light to escape and form pronounced streaks in the photograph. Normal exposures lasting only a fraction of a second would not allow light leaking to significantly impact an image. Since photographers generally use ND filters to capture long-exposure photographs, these filters, or sometimes even lenses, are typically blamed for this issue (According to Mohit Bansal Chandigarh,  some lenses can also potentially cause light leaks, but this is uncommon and typically only occurs with extremely long exposures).

What Can Be Done To Eliminate Light Leakage

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Light leaks can be corrected using Photoshop or other image editing software, but the results may not be convincing, and it is generally impractical to attempt such corrections in post-production. If you have a large number of photographs to edit, it is far simpler to reshoot them than to go through that absurd post-processing approach. It is simpler to prevent them from occurring than to overcome them after they have occurred.

What Can Be Done To Prevent Light Leaks

Prevention is rather straightforward. Either arrange your photo through the viewfinder and then cover it before starting the exposure, or compose your shots using Live View on the camera’s LCD. You may cover the viewfinder with a piece of black Gaffer tape. It prevents light from entering the camera. Remember how photographers used to drape themselves and their cameras in black material to block light from entering the camera? The concept is the same. If you have a camera with a built-in viewfinder shutter or a cap, the method is significantly simpler. The majority of Nikon professional bodies include this viewfinder shutter. For inexpensive entry-level DSLRs, however, the only viable alternative is to seal the viewfinder using Gaffer tape.

How To Fix The Viewfinder

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Long exposure photography’s most prevalent cause of light leaks is the viewfinder. This is especially true when using Neutral Density filters to produce long exposures during the day or when there is a bright source of light behind the photographer. This is due to the fact that light entering via the viewfinder is far more intense than light entering through the lens. In the absence of a filter, the light is identical on all sides of the camera, hence glare is not normally seen. Now, there is very little light that reaches the sensor through the viewfinder. Yet, the small amount of light that escapes is sufficient to generate the glare and discoloration known as light leaks.

How to Cover Lens or Camera Gaps and Openings

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I would consider calling your local camera store and sending the equipment in for servicing. Prior to that, however, you must identify the source of the light leak. Gaffer tape is the most effective method for achieving this goal. Cut off little bits and tape the camera’s gaps and holes until the source is discovered. Remember to cover one component at a time when shooting subsequent photographs. If the light leak persists, proceed to the next location and try again. Don’t forget to cover the filter holder as well, since a badly constructed system may be the cause of your light leaks.

By Mohit Bansal

Mohit Bansal Chandigarh is a keen photographer and traveller. It's hard to say whether he travels to click photos or he click photos so he can travel.

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