‘Ultra-long Exposure’ Photo Makes Lake Minnetonka Look ‘Mystical’

by | Jul 2019

A long exposure photograph shows a summer sunset on Lake Minnetonka

Photo: Robert Ball

A long exposure captures the stillness of a summer sunset on Lake Minnetonka.

Each month, we feature one of the winning photos from our 2018 Lens on Lake Minnetonka photo contest. This month, we asked photographer Robert Ball to tell us about “Arcola Sunset,” which was selected by our readers as the overall Readers’ Choice winner.

When and where did you take the photo?
This summer sunset image of Arcola Bridge on Lake Minnetonka was captured in late August of 2018.

What kind of camera did you use?
The image was created using a Nikon D850 with a 16-35mm Nikon lens attached. I also used a Manfrotto tripod and an Acratech GP Ballhead and stacked Breakthrough Photography 6D and 10D neutral density filters.

What’s your favorite thing about the image?
I have crossed the Arcola Bridge thousands of times over the years, by car on Lakeshore Drive and by foot and bike on the Dakota Trail that utilizes the old train trusses. The bridge has always caught my eye with its aged beauty, but rarely do we see images from below. The angle of the sun in late August creates an opportunity to create an ultra-long exposure such as this one that feels as though the lake is empty and almost mystical. Through the use of stacked ND filters creating a 16 Stop reduction in light passing through the lens, it allowed for an exposure time that exceeded 400 seconds. Even on a busy evening when likely 25 or more boats passed during that time, they weren’t in the frame long enough to be picked up by the image sensor.

What’s your photography background?
I picked up my first “real” camera in the early 1990s and have been creating nature images ever since. I have used everything from 35mm film to medium format, now almost completely in the digital world (although I do still shoot film on occasion).

See more of Robert Ball’s photography at rmballgalleries.com


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