I’ve been there, you’ve been there, we’ve all been there.

You’re at the scene, camera set up, exposure time determined and you push the shutter button on the camera or your cable release.

Now you wait …

A watch on the mountain overlooking a landscape. Exposure

And wait …

Still waiting …

The light is so perfect with the purples and pinks and oranges in the sky. You need the exposure to be on point. You want that photo to be the defining photo of your trip.

But the exposure time is long. It’s so long. It’s crazy long. It’s 20 minutes because your neutral density filter is so dark.

So I might be overexaggerating a bit, but it’s OK. The drama was intentional. I understand the wait time. Heck, I love the wait time. It’s part of what makes landscape photography so darn enjoyable. The joy, the bliss, the Zen moments.

So what should photographers do when waiting for a long exposure to finish? Here are some quick tips for you to do once you’ve taken in the moment while that shutter is still open.

Journal it

Think ahead. You have a website, or you’re about to post the photo somewhere on social media. Open a notebook or the notes app on your phone. Jot down some thoughts you’ve had during this Zen time. How are you feeling? Where are you?

Let others in

Step back from your camera and take a behind-the-scenes photo. Maybe not for immediate sharing on social media, but people love seeing behind-the-scenes photos.

Body and mind

Part of what makes landscape photography so good is the mindset you put yourself in. It’s relaxing as heck. But maybe consider the body part of the equation. For example, as a karate student, I enjoy doing Katas as I wait for the shutter to close. I get my mental and physical workout at the same time.

Call mom

If you’re not using your phone as a remote trigger, consider calling mom or dad and telling them how much you appreciate them and love them. Make their day, and feel good as an amazing child.

These have been a few small tips to keep you busy while you wait for a long exposure to finish. But there are thousands of other things you can do. Comment and share what you do while you wait. We cannot wait to see it!