January Photography Development

At the beginning of the year, I set myself the goal of developing one area of photography each month. Here’s my January update!

The skill and technique I wanted to learn in January was long exposure photography. So I picked up a tripod (I learnt very quickly that this was essential) and started planning some shots. Here’s what I got.

Waves and Megan


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I knew water could look really cool and misty with long exposure photography, but I wanted to try something a little different. I asked Megan to be in this shot to try and get her perfectly still, keeping her sharp and in focus, then the waves in the background would be misty.

Now, in all honesty, I couldn’t actually figure out how to get a good long exposure photograph on my camera. It just kept coming out white. Turns out, the higher f stop the less light is let in… I was working on the assuming that the lower the number, the less light.

This photo was taken using my iPhone XR. When you’re using Live Photos you can swipe up on the photo and turn your Live Photo into a long exposure shot. In the end, I got the concept of long exposure. On to my next photo!



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Long exposure attempt number two! Okay, so this one I did actually use the camera. I tested it out a few times in my office and around the house doing long exposure so that it wasn’t coming out really bright. This shot I took in Hull’s East Park. Turns out there’s this cute little zoo type thing there with an indoor waterfall.

I set up the tripod and started trying a few different combinations of length, ISO and aperture. The final shot I got wasn’t the best it could be. I wanted to get a longer exposure. This one was an 8-second exposure, but it started to get really bright. I brought the ISO right down to 100 and my aperture was already pretty high. With a bit more tweaking I might have got a better photo.

Something I have learnt is that I could pick up some filters which might help to prevent over-exposure on long exposure shots. It’s something I might pick up soon.

Night and Lights


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Here it is, my final shot of January. I think this is a huge improvement from day one! In fact, I’m really happy with it. I spent a bit more time on this one, which is why I think it’s better. I spent a bit of time initially setting up the shot.

My plan was to get the lights of the traffic going through the shot. To start with I used a 4-second shutter speed. However, the traffic is pretty slow moving on this road, so I changed this to 6-seconds. This helped me to capture a bit more of the lights. I also noticed that the Theatre actually lit up more and looked much nicer. So I raised the ISO from 200 to 400. This is the first time I was consciously changing settings to change the way my picture looked.

I combined this final image with a bit of Lightroom editing to brighten it up a little more. This really helped bring out the dark blue in the sky. So overall, I’m really happy with how this image has turned out. I’m excited to try a few more long exposure shots in the future and incorporate it into other creative projects.


In February I’m going to be working on night photography. I figured it’s a nice transition from long exposure. Also, there’s the Dark Skies Festival in the North York Moors in February, so I’m going to go out there to take some images in some of the darkest skies in England.

As always, follow along on @milnercreative on Instagram and I’d love to hear feedback or advice on how to improve.

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