STEPBYSTEP / Cap­ture a sea change

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

1 Think slow and steady

Set up on a tri­pod and fo­cus be­fore switch­ing to man­ual fo­cus to lock it. Be­fore at­tach­ing the ND fil­ter, take atest shot. Use Aper­ture Pri­or­ity and ISO100 with an aper­ture of f/11 or more. If it looks good, take note of the shut­ter speed, which was 1/60 sec at f/11 in our test shot.

2 At­tach the fil­ter

You won’t be able to see once the fil­ter is on, so make any fi­nal com­po­si­tion tweaks then at­tach your ND fil­ter to the lens. We used For­matt-Hitech’s Firecrest fil­ter holder with a 13-stop ND. Next block up the viewfinder with a cover or a piece of tape and turn off VR or sta­bil­i­sa­tion.

3 Do the maths

The shut­ter speed in our test shot here was 1/60 sec, so with the 13-stop ND fil­ter at­tached we need to dou­ble this value 13 times, equalling 2 min­utes 17 sec­onds. There are apps such as Pho­toPills (see page 16) that have ex­po­sure cal­cu­la­tors to work out the ex­po­sure time for you.

4 Time the ex­po­sure

Switch to Man­ual and lower the shut­ter speed to Bulb. At­tach a re­mote re­lease and lock open the shut­ter for the re­quired time – or use Trig­ger­trap Mo­bile (see page 16), which uses a don­gle to con­nect your cam­era and phone, and an app that en­ables you to spec­ify ex­po­sure time.

5 Con­vert to mono

Long ex­po­sures of­ten have more noise, so use a noise re­duc­tion tool such as Adobe Cam­era Raw’s De­tail panel. Then con­vert the im­age to black and white and use Cam­era Raw’s HSL/Grayscale panel to con­trol the bright­ness of colour ranges – we dark­ened the blues.

6 Lighten and darken

Of­ten bright­en­ing water and dark­en­ing skies changes the mood of your im­age. In Pho­to­shop, Shift-click over the sea with the Magic Wand to se­lect it, then add a Lev­els Ad­just­ment layer and use the slid­ers to lighten it. Re­peat this method to ad­just other ar­eas of the im­age.

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