I’ve been shooting a lot of all landscapes lately, and we have had some great clouds in the images. After capturing a static shot, I love to put on a 10-15 stop ND filter and shoot the scene again at 2 minutes and longer depending on the light. The moving clouds render as silky, mysterious streaks in the sky. And Northern Lights season is here, and sometimes I need to shoot more than 30 seconds for these images. As a rule of thumb, any exposure over 30 seconds means attaching a cable release, shooting in Bulb (in Manual Mode), and holding (or locking) the shutter open for as long as needed after 30 seconds. But with the new Nikon cameras like the Z mirrorless or D6, you now have extended shutter speeds available, and you don’t need a release.
Go into your Custom Setting Menu, and toggle down to Shooting/Display, the ‘D’ menu. Look for ‘Extended shutter speeds’, probably around D6 or D7 in the menu. Turn these on. You now have shutter speeds up to 15 minutes available to use. There is only one catch. You have to be in Manual mode to access these shutter speeds (which I normally use for long exposures).
Fifteen minutes is a long time. I find myself using 1-4 minutes frequently when using my 10-15 stop ND filters. Exposure will depend on your aperture and how much light is in the scene. But chances are good you can get close to the right exposure using one of the extended shutter speeds without having to use a cable release.
Don’t get me wrong, I like cable releases. I really like to use one photographing aurora in sub zero temperatures. I can trigger my shutter using mittens at 30 below zero, and I don’t bump my camera in any way. But for long exposure landscapes, I like using my camera shutter speeds and not having to attach a cable release. Personal preference…But if you forget your release, no worries, just use an extended shutter time you may have available in your camera.