25 Seconds is all it takes

Long exposure photography has become very popular in the last couple of years, getting a lot of coverage in landscape photography magazines and on photo sharing websites. This is due partly to the fact that so many different camera filters are now available on the market. It is also because of the kind of beauty that this genre of photography captures, especially when doing long exposure night photography.

The effect of long exposure photography are achieved by increasing the exposure time during daytime through the use of filters and at night, with or without the use of filters. Blurred skies with streaks of clouds, smoothed out water creating flow, city scape night photography, star and light trails are all effects created by deliberately prolonged exposure time to achieve this effect.

The futuristic skyline of ultra-modern Dubai, offers a particularly good opportunity to use this technique. Recently on a particularly clear night, I tried this technique on the skyline. I chose a position from where I had a really good view of the skyline, set my camera on a tripod and pre-set the exposure to 25 seconds. I hoped the wind would remain calm, and that no other movement would spoil the photo. The beauty and clarity of the photo was quite amazing.

The ability to create such a beautiful piece of art, made me think about what 25 seconds in our lives could mean. If one can create something of beauty in 25 seconds, the opposite would also be true. It only takes a few seconds to scold a person, just break their self-confidence or verbally hurt them. In only a few seconds you could love someone, uplift them or give constructive and inspiring feedback. Similarly, in a mere few seconds, one has the ability to break and destroy another, causing irreversible damage. Be mindful of what you do, say and think. The following techniques may be of some help to us:

  • Pause before you speak – many of us speak first and think after. We say things we later regret, sometimes wondering how this was even possible to come out of our mouths! Pause to think, it gives you precious seconds to say the right thing.
  • Think before you write – how many of us receive an email or message which we don’t like, get upset and shoot off a response only to regret the content afterwards? We see this happening in the social media world all the time. People have destroyed their own brand by making comments or remarks they later utterly regret. Years ago, I received some good advice – sleep on it because tomorrow you’ll have a much better answer, or maybe even no answer is all that is required.
  • Think how you would feel – speak and write with empathy. Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes. How would you feel when you receive this comment or the note? Would you feel happy or would it hurt?

25 seconds is all it takes. What did you do with your 25 seconds today? Did you help or did you hurt?