I’ve been experimenting with long exposures this week by sticking a 10 Stop ND Filter on the front of my lens. These filters are almost black and cut down the amount of light reaching the sensor which means you have to keep the shutter open longer to capture the same amount of light. For example, yesterday was a sunny day with clouds, without the filter my camera was saying that the exposure should be 1/500 second. With the filter in place the exposure time was two seconds. That’s enough to give blurry movement of the clouds. With me so far?
But maybe not enough to give me a “dreamy” look. I wanted a longer exposure and one way of getting that is to use HDR. The other way is to by using a smaller aperture in conjunction with the ND Filter to let even less light hit the sensor. In this case you would have to keep the shutter open longer to get the same amount of light. Do you understand the relationship between “f number” and the size of the aperture in your camera and how it affects the final picture. I have a simple rule of thumb that I use. Nothing scientific. The higher the aperture number i.e. f22 the smaller the opening will be in my lens, therefore the longer I will have to keep the shutter open. Of course I don’t have to calculate it, the camera does it for me, most of the time. Want to understand more? There’s an excellent article with simple diagrams about Aperture and Shutter Speed on Face The Light that you can read. Of course using longer exposures means that you need to use a tripod to keep your photograph in focus. Well the non-moving parts at least.
ND filters come in two types, circular ones that you screw to the front of your lens, or square ones that you place in a filter holder that screws onto the front of your lens. They also come in various price ranges from cheap and cheerful through to extremely expensive, but one thing they nearly all do is leave a colour cast to the final result. Usually it’s red or orange, but if you shoot in RAW that you can compensate by adjusting the “White Balance” temperature.
I use a cheap and cheerful one that I ordered from a company called SRB Photographic, mainly because I’m only experimenting. Also I had seen a review of the filter from a photographer called Brad Kalpin who had recently bought a 10 Stop ND Filter from SRB Photographic and he was quite positive about it’s use. For me reviews are a great way of helping me make a decision about future purchases. What about you? Do you use reviews?
While some people are afraid of snakes, others have phobias about high places – I’m scared of long exposures. – Ralph Bartholomew Jr.
Not me! Now that I have tried long exposure photography I want to do more. I can see the potential for taking photographs that look different and i can’t wait to get out and try that 10 Stop with moving water.
- Dreamy Relationships Photographed (carolyncholland.wordpress.com)
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy (schelleycassidy.wordpress.com)
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy (ettemeyer.wordpress.com)
- Dreaming of what’s to come (oldmomsunite.wordpress.com)
- Weekly Photo Challenge-Dreamy (woollymuses.wordpress.com)
- California Dreaming… #photography #poetry #dpchallenge (moondustwriter.com)
- Cut To Dream Scene… (steve-says.net)
- Weekly photo challenge: Dreamy (quirkylittleplanet.wordpress.com)
- Weekly Photo Challenge – Dreamy (largeself.com)