Lake Lucerne Abstracts

Boat trips can offer great potential for long exposure photography as I found recently on a holiday to beautiful Lake Lucerne in Switzerland.

lake lucerne abstract with orton effect banner

Lake Lucerne Abstract 01: An exposure of 1.6 seconds at f/22 creates plenty of contrast and definition across the image. Click to enlarge.

Holding the camera firmly to the handrail, I experimented with shutter speeds exceeding half a second and a range of apertures, mostly at the smaller end. To reduce light levels to allow the slower shutter speeds I used a variable ND filter.

Lake Lucerne Abstract 02

Lake Lucerne Abstract 02. 1 second at f/14. Monochrome images can help us to focus on the compositional features. Click to enlarge.

I found that my preferred shutter speed was always less than two seconds as beyond this the details I needed to define the mood, e.g. good contrast on the surface of the water and the rise and fall of the waves, start to disappear.

Lake Lucerne Abstract 03

Lake Lucerne Abstract 03. Exposure of 0.8 second at f/13. The lines of the structure are in harmony with the angle of the flow of water. Click to enlarge.

Lake Lucerne Abstract 04

Lake Lucerne Abstract 04. Exposure of 0.6 second at f/14. Click to enlarge.


Lighting conditions varied hugely with the time of day, some changeable weather and according to where I stood on the boat, resulting in a good range of tones and contrast in the images. As usual the polariser filter proved invaluable by reducing glare and reflections of the sky on the water.





I wasn’t aiming for pin sharp images due to the constant movements of the boat. I was really trying to capture, in an original way, something of the mysteries of water being moved across large spaces in beautiful surroundings.