The more, the mer­rier

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

Use one fil­ter to bal­ance the exposure, and another to en­able a long exposure

01 Find your sea legs

As you’ll be us­ing a slow shut­ter speed, you’ll need a tri­pod and a re­mote re­lease. Screw in a fil­ter adapter, then at­tach the fil­ter holder. If you’re us­ing a wide-an­gle lens, there’s a chance you’ll catch the edge of the adapter in your shot. Ei­ther zoom past it, or crop the im­age in edit­ing.

02 Stay grounded

As you’ll be us­ing an ND grad to bal­ance out the sky, you can set your exposure for the ground. Put your cam­era in man­ual mode, select an aper­ture of f/22 and an ISO of 100, and then ad­just the shut­ter speed un­til the exposure nee­dle lines up with the ‘0’.

03 The first fil­ter

Next, slide your weak­est grad into the slot that’s near­est the lens, with the dark end at the top, and slide it down un­til the tran­si­tion from dark to clear just kisses the hori­zon – if it’s too high or too low it will be ob­vi­ous in the fi­nal im­age. Take a test shot and check your his­togram.

04 Two’s com­pany…

If the graph fits nicely within the his­togram you won’t need to at­tach a sec­ond ND grad, but if it’s stacked to­wards the right-hand side, you’ll need a sec­ond fil­ter to darken the sky even fur­ther, un­til the graph isn’t cut off or ‘clipped’ on the right.

05 …Three’s a wow

Once the ND grads have en­sured a bal­anced exposure, it’s time to add a full ND to en­able a longer shut­ter speed. A one-stop ND will en­able you to dou­ble the exposure time, a two-stop ND will en­able you to dou­ble it again, and so on.

06 The right time

Be­cause NDs are very dark, make sure you’re happy with your com­po­si­tion be­fore adding one. With the fil­ter at­tached, in­crease the exposure time the cor­rect num­ber of stops (see top right), take a test shot, and ad­just again if needed.

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