Reply To: Inspiration

Duncan Rawlinson

Hi Maggie,

Thanks for submitting your assignment.

For this kind of thing there really is no right answer. Much like photography itself. Every image can be made many different ways there is not one correct way to photograph a scene.

I would recommend you spend some time looking at the works of the masters of photography. This may not be obvious but if you can pull on threads of inspiration and follow them it will dramatically improve your learning.

I’m glad to hear you we’re supporting the last photographer who influenced you by buying prints.

I believe this is the image you referenced.

Here is the EXIF data from that photograph:

Date Time Original: 2000:01:01 00:05:20
Exposure Time: 32
F Number: f / 22
ISO Speed Ratings: 100
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Flash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
Focal Length: 10mm
White Balance: Manual white balance
Make: Canon
Model: Canon EOS 60D
LensInfo: 10/1 20/1 0/0 0/0
LensModel: 10-20mm
LensSerialNumber: 0000000000
Lens: 10-20mm
Exif Version:
Flashpix Version: 
Color Space: 1
Date Time Digitized: 2013:08:13 09:09:29
Shutter Speed Value: -5
Aperture Value: 8.92
Focal Plane X Resolution: 5728.18
Focal Plane Y Resolution: 5808.40
Focal Plane Resolution Unit: 2
Custom Rendered: Normal process
Scene Capture Type: Standard
Saturation: Normal
Sharpness: Normal
ExifIFDPointer: 208
YCbCr Positioning: 2
X Resolution: 300
Y Resolution: 300
Resolution Unit: 2
Date Time: 2014:12:03 16:05:54
Software: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.4 (Macintosh)
DateCreated: 2000-01-01

You are indeed correct that this is a long exposure photograph. It was a 32 second exposure at f22. This was likely shot with an ND filter.

If you like this type of work and are looking for more have a look a the works of Michael Kenna:

For something different take a look at Sigumoto:

What’s more you seem to also enjoy the works of a generalist photographer. So perhaps take a look at the works of Jay Maisel.

Overall you’ve done well here. Like many students you may not know what you don’t know. In other words, if you’re not familiar with the works of the great photographers of history you may not know what has come before you. In fact you might not even care and that’s ok too. I would just recommend you spend some genuine time either buying books or looking at the works of the true greats. There is so much to learn by just studying their works.

If there is anything you can glean from this it’s that you have an interest in long exposure landscape photography. More often than not this is done with the use of ND filters. Sometimes with graduated ND filters as well. Often they use wide angle lenses as well. Do you have an ND filter or a grad ND and a wide angle lens?

Also important here is the love of nature. What is more beautiful than mother nature?! Even beyond this photography has been a critical part of the conservation movement and it is a very powerful tool to help protect nature. Just look at this:

You may be asking yourself why though? Why should I care about being inspired when it comes to photography? Well inspiration is massively important. Just take a look at these videos.

The path of learning in photography pretty much never ends so you’ll want to remain inspired.

Overall you’re doing very well and would encourage you to tug on those threads and see what unravels…

Remember if you have any questions or are getting stumped by anything just send an email to to get some help. See you on the next assignment!