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ND filters and when to use them.

Ok we have looked at how to smooth water but what do you do when you want to smooth it out even more?

So here's what we know, to get your water to start to smooth out we need to choose a shutter speed of 1\60 or below right? But what do you do if you have reached the limits of what can be dialled into you camera settings to reach this mark?

The answer is of course an ND or Neutral Density filters which are essentially sun glasses for your lens which prevent light entering your lens and reaching your sensor. There are a few different types and they are all have a measurement of how much light they cancel in stops. There are some that screw onto the inner thread on your end of lens called circular filters and there are some that slide into holders that attach on the front of your lens called square filters.

Some are solid density all the way through and some are what's called graduated filters which are a more solid colour at the top and more clearer towards the bottom.

Two of the major brands are LEE and Nisi which are the ones I use. There are cheaper ones out there and they can produce Vignetting when using the circular type - your homework is to look it up what Vignetting is :)

You can learn more about what type of ND filters there are by going the LEE and Nisi websites.

The first image below which is correctly exposed with no ND filter attached was shot at ISO 100 - F\8 - 1\100 and as you can see the water movement has been frozen to an extent.

The second image was shot with a NiSi circular 11 stop ND filter on my lens and to get correct exposure was ISO 100 - F\8 - 25 seconds and as you can see, the water is as smooth as silk giving it a dreamy effect.

The same effect can be done with clouds streaking across the sky. Let me know if you would like to see that and I will get some images up on the next shout out.

I can run a workshop on how to get this effect if you have ND filters already. Just contact me and we will set it up.



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