Photographer Curiosity

I think almost everyone has seen an image that portrays car headlights on the highway as streaming ribbons of light (below) I have always wondered how a camera could capture the trails made by the headlights. The National Geographic’s photo of the day on Sept. 23 shows this wonder of mine. The photo’s caption mentions that it is a time-exposed photograph. So I researched that term and found a description.

A comparatively long exposure made in seconds or minutes.

When I thought harder about this description, it began to make sense. The longer you allow light to “touch” the film, the more the film will pick up. The stationary items, like the buildings in the picture below, will stay the same, while the lights that are moving will be fuzzy and streamer-like. Now that I know how to make this light show, I can’t wait to go practice this new technique. I will posts picture as soon as I have some.

Time Exposed PhotoThis photo is by Joel Sartore


One thought on “Photographer Curiosity

  1. Lauren Johnson September 25, 2007 / 12:07 am

    That is so weird I have wondered about that too, but I always thought maybe they used a special feature on the camera to make the lights seem as if they are one line. I guess not. I love the picture too.

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