Long Exposures in an Abandoned Train Tunnel

Patrick, my travel companion, and I took the hour and a half drive from the Northshore to Clinton Massachusetts. Our destination is the abandoned train tunnel from the 1930’s. Centuries later the tunnel has been decorated by graffiti artists work and local partiers beer cans, the purpose of our journey is to experiment photographing Patrick holding a blue smoke grenade at the tunnel’s entrance. I have taken photographs with smoke grenades before with Patrick, but never at an abandoned train tunnel that seems endless.

Patrick and I plan to go back and take photographs from the other end. But, before we left we took several long exposure shots with sparklers I had from Forth of July.

Enjoy and Explore an Abandoned Place.



Long Exposure Shots With Sparklers

How to Take Long Exposure Shots With Sparklers

My first experience with sparklers and long exposure photographs went reasonably smoothly. The only complications my friend Jeff and I came across was trying to control the shutter speed on my Nikon D3200 camera. So, I set the camera’s ISO speed to 100. Next, we timed how long the camera’s lens stayed open on it’s lowest shutter speed. Which, the shutter speed stayed open in-between 20-30 seconds and was plenty of time for Jeff to photograph me drawing a shape using the sparklers as my pen and the air as my paper.

The materials for this project include:
– DSLR camera
– Tripod
– Sparklers
– An interesting backdrop

Before taking the photographs make sure you have all the materials you need in the area of your backdrop. Next, it is best to measure out your shot and level the tripod. Once you have your shot in focus, figure out where you want the person to stand. For example, in the middle or off to a side. Jeff and I started this process at dusk so we would still have some light to make it easier for us to set everything up to take the long exposure photographs.

Unfortunately, I wasted three sparklers trying to write the word love. Once I gave up on writing out the word love I moved next to creating shapes. The easiest shapes I drew with the sparklers were a heart and circle. The heart and circle shapes also came out very clear in the photographs, unlike some of my attempts at trying to write out the word love.

The backdrop I used was in front of the woods in my backyard, so the trees in the background worked perfectly for the scenery. Standing under the trees, the light from the sparklers reflected off the overhanging branches giving an added feature to my photographs. 

The entire process took us roughly an hour and a half and the clean up for this project isn’t a hassle.

The photographs in this blog post I captured with Nikon’s D3200 and added the text with Photoshop.

Enjoy Your Long Exposure Photographs with Sparklers!