Creating the Image – Fuji XT-1

Posted on April 15, 2014


I’ve had many emails and messages on the site and on Facebook from people asking how I created this image so I thought I’d write a quick blog post describing the equipment needed and my approach to how I do it.

So lets start with the equipment I used to take this long exposure:

  • Fuji X-T1 Camera (Any camera/DSLR with “Bulb” Mode function will work)
  • 14mm Lens (21mm FF equivalent)
  • Gitzo Tripod (Tripod must be sturdy and be able to withstand moderate winds/vibration)
  • Remote camera release cable (You could also use a 2 second shutter delay if your camera has option to do so)
  • Formatt – Hitech Pro IRND 10 stop filter (Other 10 stop filters will do)
  • 3 stop Graduated Filter

The above is what I used on the day to create the image but as I have put in brackets other options are available and will give you the same result. So lets move onto the technique I use when creating all of my long exposure images.

Firstly I set up my camera on the tripod and plug in my remote shutter release cable and then attach my Lee filter holder, I use the slot in type filters instead of the screw on filter type mainly because I have a lot of lenses and this saves on having different filters matching the threads of the individual lenses. I compose my image as if I were taking a normal image and once happy with the framing I generally focus a third into the frame at f11 and make sure it’s nice and sharp. I then expose as normal. I need to add that this is all done in full manual mode and I use both live preview and the view finder to check everything is correct. If I’m shooting towards the general direction of the  sun or there are very bright parts in the sky this is where I then introduce a 3 stop hard or soft graduated filter to help calm down the brightest parts of the sky. Once that is in place I then slide in my 10 stop filter. At this stage you will not see anything in live preview or through the viewfinder as the 10 stop filter blocks out all the light. I then switch the camera to Bulb mode and on both my cameras the image/composition does then become visible to a degree but it may or may not on other makes of camera.

Now this is where a lot of people like to make it all sound very technical when it comes to exposure times but it is very simple and you don’t need to panic. There are App’s available on both IOS and Android to help you determine the exposure length but personally I like to do it by trial and error as each length of exposure can create different results. As a general rule of thumb the less light available the longer the exposure so for example you’ll need more time around early morning/sunrise than you would in say the middle of the day. This image was just as the sun had dipped behind the buildings but still reasonably bright. Like I said I prefer trial and error so my first exposure I did was for 30 seconds. It produced a reasonable effort but on checking my Histogram the reading was more central and I prefer my histogram to be almost touching the right hand side of the scale, this gives me as much fine detail into the image as possible. So the next attempt I let it go for approx 1 minute, 58 seconds to be precise and I was happy with the result this time.

Long Exposure photography is a great thing to try and play with. You can create some fantastic images and it doesn’t have to be used purely for images with water in. You can use it to blur any type of movement from people to traffic and you will not always need a 10 stop filter. Depending on the light level and exposure time you may not need a filter or you may need something between 3-10 stops. Get yourself out there and just experiment with it, there is no right or wrong way to approach it, just have fun and create!



13 Responses to Creating the Image – Fuji XT-1


April 15, 2014 at 10:27 am

Why both the graduated and the and filter? The photo is stunning.



April 15, 2014 at 10:42 am

Hi Patti. i use the graduated filter to help hold back the sky a bit more as that is usually a lot brighter than the rest of the scene so needs some extra darkness to stop it blowing out



April 16, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Just curious… what remote-release cable are you using? Is it also an intervolameter, or just plain remote release?



April 16, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Hi, I’m just using a basic remote shutter release, think it’s called ishoot. No intervolameter needed as it’s a single shot. Think it was about £15 on eBay, just a chinese knock off but works perfect.


Sal Virji

June 2, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Hi Richard,
How well does the Fuji handle noise during long exposures of 3 to 5 mins.

How good is the battery life for LE shots.
Am considering getting the Fuji system and just want to be sure of the above.



June 2, 2017 at 12:39 pm


It handles long exposures fine. In the early models they did suffer a light leak from one of the sides where the ports are but this was soon rectified. battery life isn’t fantastic on the X-T1 or any small camera system and long exposures definitely eats your charge up very quickly. Batteries are cheap enough though so just buy yourself a few. Plenty of good third party manufactured ones out there.



April 18, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Thanks for sharing your methodology Richard. I recently picked up the Fuji XT-1 and have been looking at filter options (Cokin, Lee, Hitech, etc.). I’m new to the non-screw in filter systems. I see Hitech has 67, 85, 100mm sizes. Is there a size you recommend for Fuji XF lenses? I have the 14mm and 23mm currently. Thanks!



April 18, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Hi Adam. I’d forget Cokin to be honest. Whilst they are the cheapest option they create a very purple cast to images which can be removed in processing it is a real pain. Hitech is not a bad option but if you can afford it I would go for the Lee Sev5n starter kit as the perfect starting base, like this one –



May 14, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Hi Richard,

thank you for sharing! You wrote that you use the Lee Holder with the Hitech filter, you mean the Lee seven5 Holder with Hitech 67mm Filters? Could you pls confirm this? What would be the advantage over the Hitech holder?



May 14, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Hi Mario. I use the standard lee system with the standard holder,not the sev5n system and my filters are 100×150 in size. Hope that helps.



May 15, 2014 at 8:18 am

Dear Richard,

thank you for clarifying!



December 5, 2016 at 5:35 pm

I just got my XT1 and tried long exposure the other day. I did have the Seven5 system also. I compose then add the 3 stop hard grad to tame the sky. I then noted the shutter speed reading it is 1/10 sec (I’m using spot metering and the focus point is on the lower third, which is basically the foreground). When i used the IOS calculator it yielded 1 min 42 sec with the big stopper. When I exposed for 1 min 42 sec I got blown highlights. I redo it and let the camera meter with the big stopper in place and it only recommends 30 sec. I got confused but the 30 sec exposure is ok with no blown highlights. Have you experienced this. This procedure is what I normally do with my previous Canon 5DII, Nikon D700 and Sony A7II. It seems that the metering is off. I tried to use the other metering with same result. I read somewhere that the DR setting might be impacting this but I’m not sure. I’m shooting raw + jpeg by the way. Is there a specific camera setting that I have to set? Thanks and sorry for the long post.


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