Minimalist Landscape Photographs with Exposure Times of Up to Eight Hours


Samuel Burns is a photographer based in Sydney, Australia who specializes in shooting minimalist landscape photographs using a large format camera. While the scenes chosen for his photographs are already simple and bare, Burns captures them with extremely long exposure times in order to give the locations a blurry and dreamy look.

The 33-year-old photographer first sets up his camera — a 4×5 camera with either a film or a Phase One back — on a tripod, slides his head under the dark cloth hanging from the back, and carefully composes his shot.

I hide away behind the camera under a dark cloth to compose each image on a ground glass, seeing the image up-side-down and using old fashioned dials to adjust and refine the composure. It is not unusual for me to spend half an hour setting up a composition, employing large format camera movements such as rise, shift and tilt and then hiding back away under the dark cloth to make sure everything is perfect. It needs to be to make sure the wait is worth it!

Once everything is “perfect,” he triggers the shutter and waits — up to eight hours.

Samuel Burns as seen through the ground glass of his camera

Samuel Burns as seen through the ground glass of his camera

A “one hour exposure provides an experience of contemplation and relaxation,” Burns says, but “anything over three hours becomes a painful waiting game.”

As Samuel sits around waiting for the film to be exposed through the tiny apertures, the features of the scene get painted and layered onto the photograph. Water flows, clouds fly, and light dances.

Here’s a selection of photographs Burns has created so far (some are ultra-long exposures while others are shorter):















35 of these photographs are available as prints over on Burns’ website. They’re “an ode to art lovers who don’t love art gallery prices,” as each limited-edition museum quality print costs just ~$70.

Image credits: Photographs by Samuel Burns and used with permission

  • kerry pittenger

    Some are beautiful,….

  • Zos Xavius

    gotta agree on that one ;)

  • Swade

    I like the idea, but I wish I didn’t see 10 pictures of the ocean (or lake, or whatever large body of water that is). I feel like I’m seeing the same thing with different colors.

  • Joakim Bidebo

    $70 for 8×10 is that cheap? Just a question tho cos I have no clue what’s normal price.

  • ATrapAtNoon

    Agreed on the tricycle as subject matter…makes for a strong compositional element, though. I really like this series; I could get lost in the really long exposures. Reminds me of a ballet – the painstaking execution is completely hidden by the soft and graceful result.

  • Philip Han

    Hiroshi Sugimoto much?

    They’re good, but not very original.

  • Jeff Oates

    Beautiful works of art.

  • Taylor Ashley

    I get what he is doing , and appreciate the time and energy it takes to get the shot but I feel like some are lacking interest. I feel like he could take this skill and find some more interesting shots to apply this technique to.

  • harumph

    Why, because Eggleston shot a tricycle? I like it. It does look a little contrived, but I think it’s my favorite of the set, actually. Better than the mask.

  • harumph

    No, that’s not cheap. I think he’s comparing his prices to high end gallery prices.

  • Banan Tarr

    No, because it’s obviously contrived by the photographer. “So I have this tricycle, let’s see where I can put it that makes it seem dramatic.” And even if he didn’t put it there, a lot of people are going to question why it’s there and think he did. Just doesn’t work for me – thinking about that at all distracts from my experience of the image.

  • Sid Ceaser

    Beautiful, creamy, and painterly. I love them. Bravo. I like the ones without props the most.

  • Klipto

    You make a lot of assumptions for knowing exactly nothing of what the photographer did to compose that scene.

  • Graham

    gets a bit same same after a while

  • MikeAlgar42

    Yet that is the one that is most interesting. I don’t care if it reminds me William Eggleston, it still works.

  • Jake

    Agreed. This would be fantastic as 1 or 2 large prints on my wall, not as a list of 10 small pictures on a screen.

  • Banan Tarr

    A lot of assumptions, where the words “a lot” are defined as “maybe one”. Thanks for the hyperbole though.

    I provided my honest thoughts on what I thought immediately after seeing it, that’s all.

  • Pepito

    The douchebagery of his discourse totaly kills it for me. I like the one that looks like Sugimoto’s.

  • Redstart

    Get over yourself.

  • Banan Tarr

    I really don’t see what’s wrong with thinking the tricycle is cliche. It doesn’t work for me. Maybe it works for you — that’s fine. It’s art, and we’re all free to critique it.

  • KJP

    Yes, that’s cheap. Unless, of course, he’s not interested in paying the bills with this photography.

  • KJP

    Yes, that’s cheap. Unless, of course, he’s not interested in paying the bills with this photography.

  • Noah Parks

    Really unique vision. I would love to see how his technique works for shots with a little more subject matter to them.

  • BBking

    I disagree. It’s the most interesting. Who cares if it’s been done before? So have Beatles’ songs. Infact, I think the others are too over exposed. Can’t really tell what they are. Might need some more ND filters? :P