The ben­e­fits of an ND fil­ter

NPhoto - - Road Trip -

A neu­tral den­sity (ND) fil­ter can dra­mat­i­cally change the mood of a wa­ter­scape. They darken the en­tire frame, en­abling you to set much longer ex­po­sures. I used the LEE Big Stop­per here, which dark­ened my shot by ten stops. For this shot, this meant my shut­ter speed changed from 1/13 sec at f/9 (ISO500) to 30 sec­onds at f/9. You can see how it dra­mat­i­cally trans­forms the shot from a stan­dard snap that could’ve been taken on AUTO mode, to a moody lakescape. The wa­ter and sky, both now lack­ing in def­i­ni­tion, al­low the three dead trees to take cen­tre stage, and the trees’ re­flec­tions, while still un­de­fined, are more prom­i­nent in the sec­ond im­age.

I used an ND fil­ter to cre­ate that mood and en­hance the scene, but don’t be fooled. Sim­ply shov­ing an ND fil­ter onto your lens for all of your shots just to blur some­thing won’t au­to­mat­i­cally make the shot bet­ter. The scene has to war­rant its use (see page 50 for more on us­ing ND fil­ters).

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