1. Clean your sensor
Make sure you clean your sensor before going out. With the use of small apertures (see further), you’ll all sensor spots. Without cleaning there will be a lot of Photoshop post-processing to clean up the photo.
2. Check your batteries
We’re talking about long exposures, that can take seconds, minutes of even an hour. I shot photos with 30 minutes exposure. So charged batteries are a must and spare batteries as well.
3. Carry your tripod
With the long exposures, you can’t do without a tripod. In windy conditions you need a firm and sturdy one. Make sure the tripod stands still and use your camera bag for extra weight.
4. Grab your filters
Everything that holds back the light will do. Circular polarizers reduce two stops of light. There are all kinds of Neutral Density filters. But for this particular photo, I used a Hoya ND 400, which holds back 10 stops of light.
5. Get the longest exposure
Set the camera ISO to the lowest value possible (e.g. 50 or 100) and set the aperture to the smallest setting (e.g. f/22). With these settings we’ll get the maximum exposure possible.
6. Use the Bulb Mode
Set your camera to bulb mode. Most cameras have a maximum exposure of 30 seconds in other modes. With the bulb mode you can go beyond 30 seconds and choose your own exposure length.
7. Use a Remote Control
To get pin sharp results, you need a remote control, so you don’t have to touch your camera during the exposure.
8. Enjoy the view
During the exposure you have all the time to enjoy the view and explore the surroundings for next exposures.