To Get Better Landscape Photography, Your Camera Gear Should Include Neutral Density Filters!
Today's photo hint concerns the neutral density filter. This is another piece of camera gear which should be in your bag at all times, to get better landscape photography! It is another filter effect that can't be duplicated after the fact. It must be in the camera.
I'm certain you've seen landscape photography of a waterfall.
It's possible for you to shoot it so that each drop of water is in sharp relief... or you'll be able to shoot it so that it resembles a massive string of cotton candy! And everything in between!
Incidentally, did you know that Niagara Falls actually stopped flowing in 1848 for about 20 hours because there was ice which was blocking the Niagara River? Picture a before and after shot of THAT!
Anyway, back to our point...
We know that to get the sharp image, we need a quick shutter speed and to get the cotton candy blur we want a slow one.
Another great reason to set your camera on guide! You'll never get award winning shots on automatic! They will look like everyone else's.
What if we want an extremely slow shutter speed, but it is a brilliant day? Only a particular amount of light can be let in for a good exposure as you understand - it is going to destroy the photo, if you let in too much.
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So we first start closing down the aperture. What if that isn't enough? Imagine if we are at the smallest aperture setting - and we still have an excessive amount of light.
Our next option would be to go with the slowest film or ISO setting we can. That is nice, it's going to give us nicely saturated, noise free shots... but there are constraints.
The simple fix is to block a few of that light since our difficulty is that too much light is entering the lens.
Enter the 'Neutral Density Filter'.
The neutral density filter is a filter that is made to obstruct a a predetermined amount of light. That is all! It does not change the light in any manner - it is inert. The light going into the lens has all the same properties; there's just less of it.
Voilla! You are now able to shoot at that silky, waterfall that is cotton candy - on a brilliant sunny day!
Neutral density filters come in a variety of strengths. It's possible for you to block one stop of light, three, five, and so forth. Plus various densities can be 'stacked' for even more light blockage. You could place a three stop neutral density filter and a five stop together for eight full stops! (That's a LOT of light!)
Neutral density filters have tons of uses, not just for waterfalls. In tomorrows photo tip post, I'll go into even more cool things you certainly can do to enhance your landscape photography with these camera gear accessories that are vital.