I’ve always been fascinated by time-exposure photography. Anyone who’s ever seen one of those gorgeous pictures of a big city, but the streets are nothing but a sea of white and red lights – or one of those images that perfectly captures lightning mid-strike knows what time-exposure photography is – the camera snaps many pictures over a period of seconds, and then blends that into one image – blurring anything that’s moving, and rendering in sharp focus anything that’s still. Running water becomes an ethereal mist, cars on a freeway become light lines or blurs of motion. It’s really a beautiful effect.
Time Exposure is a free app that’s designed to take such photos. It’s free, though with the free version you have to contend with a banner ad at the bottom of the screen at all times, AND a pop-up ad that will show itself every time a photo is saved. There are also several features that you can’t access without upgrading – such as taking “large” pictures. There are several “levels” of upgrading – the lowest removes the banner ad ($0.99), the next highest removes all ads ($1.99), all the way up to the ($2.99) full upgrade that removes all ads and unlocks the Large photo size, among other things. However, despite these annoyances, the free version has quite a few nice features of it’s own.
Tapping the drawer handle on the left hand side of the screen opens out a menu with several “presets.” Two are designed for normal light, one for night light levels, and two for “Light Sketch” – which involves taking pictures so quickly that a single moving light becomes a blurred line of color and you can essentially draw with them. (Very fun to do with glow sticks.) I highly recommend playing with the settings and seeing what works best for whatever you’re trying to do. It took me several tries adjusting the art flash, the exposure time, the filter, and various other settings to get a picture that looked as cool as the screenshots promised.
It does take a bit of a learning curve, but if you’ve ever done photography with something other than your phone or iPad before, the curve’s a bit shallower. I once took a photography course in college and was surprised how much I remembered while playing with this app. Once you get the hang of the “dials” that are used to change the exposure times and the flash brightness, it’s a simple app with some annoying ads that can create some awesome photos.
Price: Free (in-app purchased upgrades from $0.99 – $2.99)
Version reviewed: 1.0
Requires iOS 4.3 or later
Download size: 43.9 MB