How to Bulb Shot with Canon SLR Rebel XT

Written by heather laurent
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How to Bulb Shot with Canon SLR Rebel XT
Use the Bulb setting on your Canon SLR Rebel XT to photograph star trails in your backyard. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Many new photographers have seen the bulb setting on their Canon SLR Rebel XT but are not sure what it does. In contrast to any other shutter setting, the bulb setting gives you full manual control over when the shutter opens and closes. It is essential for situations requiring long or specific exposures, such as photographing star trails or a fireworks show. You can optionally use a remote shutter or cable release device to control the shutter without bumping or shaking your camera.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Tripod
  • Remote shutter and transmission devices (optional)
  • Cable release device (optional)
  • Timer (optional)

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  1. 1

    Find a suitable location to use the bulb setting of your camera. The area should be sufficiently dark, preferably in very lowlight or night time conditions. Connect your camera to a tripod using the tripod socket on the bottom of your camera to reduce camera shake. Shooting with long exposures by hand can lead to image blur.

  2. 2

    Lift the black, rubber terminal cover on the left side of your of your camera. The three connection holes designated are for video output, remote cable and digital output. Connect the shutter release cable or remote transmission device to the second connection hole. Ensure that the remote transmission device is switched to "On."

  3. 3

    Set the mode dial on the top of your camera to "Manual (M)". Switch your camera on using the power switch. Turn the main dial near the mode dial to the left to increase exposure time until the setting reads "Bulb." You can view your shutter speed settings in the upper left corner of the LCD panel.

  4. 4

    Configure other camera settings such as image quality, white balance and ISO (light sensitivity) to suit your preferences. You can adjust these settings by pressing the "Menu" button and selecting your choices. Frame your shot and set a timer if necessary.

  5. 5

    Hold down the shutter release button to open the shutter. If you are using a remote shutter or cable release device, hold the shutter release button on these devices. If you are using a timer, do not release the button until the timer sounds. Otherwise, release the button when you want to close the shutter.

  6. 6

    Review your image in the LCD monitor on the back of your camera to confirm that your image is properly exposed. If your image is too dark, increase the shutter time on your next try. If your image is too bright or blown out, reduce the shutter time. This step may require several tries before you master the technique.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not use a flash, as this will wash out your image.

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