SET UP YOUR EQUIPMENT Mount your camera on a tripod and compose the scene. Focus the lens and take a test shot to check the exposure is okay and if you need to use any filters. In this case a
0.9 ‘hard’ ND grad was needed to balance the sky and foreground.
ASSESS THE SHOT The initial shot looks fine in terms of composition and exposure. The ND grad filter has balanced the bright dawn sky with the darker foreground and the image is sharp from front to back. The only problem is no motion has been recorded, so a slower shutter speed must be used.
SLOW DOWN THE SHUTTER SPEED
record more motion in the scene, you need a slower shutter speed. To achieve this, use a low ISO and stop the lens down to a small aperture – in this case ISO 100 and f16. If light levels are naturally low, doing this may give you the desired speed.
MOTION BLUR Here you can see that the gondolas in the foreground are definitely blurred now because they were moving up and down during the 0.8sec exposure. For some photographers this would be enough motion, but it’s worth experimenting with even longer exposures to see if the effect can be improved.
USE A NEUTRAL DENSITY FILTER If your lens is stopped right down to its smallest aperture, the ISO is at its lowest setting and you’re still not recording enough motion, your next step is to use an ND filter. In this case, a 1.2 ND filter was used to reduce the exposure by four stops.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED By using an ND filter, the exposure was increased to 15 seconds at f22 and ISO 100. Motion in the gondolas is very pronounced now and looks really effective. Even the texture in the moving water has been reduced and the reflections of the gondolas are smoothed out.