With only 28 days in February I was concerned that there would be fewer entries this month, but I needn't have worried. The theme of "Long exposure" seemed to be one that a lot of people could get their teeth into, and we received close to a record number of entries, many of them very good.
As usual our entrants interpreted the theme in several different ways. Most of them took it literally, using the photographic technique of extended exposure time to achieve a variety of effects, some successfully, others…not so successfully. Other people however took a more lateral-thinking approach, and we received a few entries featuring a different type of "exposure". However this is a family-friendly website, so I'm afraid those went straight into the recycle bin.
One popular technique was the "drawing with light" effect of waving a bright hand-held light in front of the camera while holding the shutter open, either on a long timed exposure or using the "B" function. We received about a dozen entries using this effect, but one that stood out was this shot from Henri Sorsa of Oulu, Finland. Henri got his father to twirl two LED lamps in front of his Canon EOS 450D digital SLR, using an exposure of several seconds to capture the effect. The reflection of the torch light in the snow balances the shot nicely.
Another brilliant and extremely funny take on the same technique was this shot from Kristof Batori of Budapest, Hungary, who says "I shot this with my Canon EOS 40D fitted with an EF-S 18-55. I set it up to a 30 sec exposure and exposed with a self timer, so I had enough time to jump to my place as the K.O.'d boxer. The flash was fired at the start of the exposure, then my friend, who's the coach in the background, drew the boxer with his cellphone." I love photos with a touch of humour, and this is one of the funniest I've seen in ages, and cleverly done, too.
A similar technique is to use lights that are already moving, and car tail lights are always a popular choice. Here's a particularly striking example from Abilio Ambas of Gijon, Spain, taken in a local cave that has a road running through it. Says Abilio, "Cuevas is a village in my region that is completely surrounded by mountains. The ancient river course forms a stunning natural cave, "The Great Cave" ("La Cuevona" in Spanish), that, apart from some forest trails, forms the only road available to go in and out of the valley. I was lucky to get a shot with a car crossing the cave. I set a very long exposure to capture as much light as possible (the cave is almost totally dark, apart from some little lamps here and there), and that gave me also the nice light trails as the car crossed the cave. I added a touch of Gaussian blur to get more "glow" from lamps and trails."