Minimalist Landscape Photographs with Exposure Times of Up to Eight Hours

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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):

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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