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Your camera's built-in meter cannot specify a shutter speed over 30 seconds. Whether you're in Program mode, Shutter priority, or Manual mode, 30 seconds is as long as it can go. If you're shooting an extreme low light, 30 seconds might not be enough to capture the scene that you are aiming for. For those times, you'll want to turn to the camera's Bulb mode. You get to Bulb mode the way you would any other mode: press the lock button on the dial, and spin it over to the B. The status display shows you that you are in Bulb mode. I don't get to pick a shutter speed, because my shutter speed is bulb; that means it's going to stay open as long as I hold the shutter button.
I can control aperture, so I can dial my aperture in to whatever I want. And now, for as long as I hold the shutter button down, the shutter will stay open, and it's nice, you can see, the Mark III gives you a counter, or a timer, rather, so I can see exactly how long I am exposing for. I don't need to hassle with a stop watch, or anything, and that will go until I let off the shutter button, and then my image is stored. If I have long exposure noise reduction turned on, note that there might be an additional time period here where the camera is processing the noise in the image, and that time will be as long as whatever my actual shutter time was.
Now, normally, when you shoot in bulb mode, you are not going to stand there and hold your finger on the shutter button, because for one thing, your finger will get tired; two, that can lead you to shake the camera, so normally you will use a remote control of some kind. This is one of the Canon wired remotes. I don't have it plugged in right now. This one also has some additional features, such as an intervalometer for doing time lapse. What's nice about using it for Bulb mode is when I press the shutter button, I can slide it up to lock it, and then I can walk away.
Now it will stay open until I come back and slide that back down. You can get third party remotes that do the same thing. You can also get wireless remotes, which can be nice for working from farther away. When you are working in Bulb mode, you might also want to use your viewfinder cap. This should be attached to the strap of your camera. You can see that the strap threads through right there. And what this does is, I can take the viewfinder cover off, and slide this on, and that will keep me from getting light polluting the inside of the camera through the viewfinder.
I say I can slide that on, but I'm using the wrong side, so let's just put that on that way. Note that you don't need to take it off the strap to use it; even with the strap still threaded through, you can put this on, and that will keep light from getting in there that way. You are going to learn a little bit more about the remote control when we get to the self-timer movie later in this course.
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