To Get Better Landscape Photography, Your Camera Equipment Should Contain Neutral Density Filters!
Today's photo suggestion 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 every drop of water is in sharp relief... or you can shoot it so that it resembles a gigantic string of cotton candy! And everything in between!
By the way, are you aware that Niagara Falls truly stopped flowing in 1848 for about 20 hours because there was ice that was blocking the Niagara River? Imagine a before and after shot of THAT!
Anyway, back to our point...
We are aware that to get the sharp image, we desire a fast shutter speed and to get the cotton candy blur we want a slow one.
Another good reason to put your camera on guide! You won't ever get award winning shots on automatic! They'll look like everyone else's.
Imagine if we need an extremely slow shutter speed, but it's a bright day? Only a specific amount of light can be let in for a good exposure, as you know - it'll destroy the picture should you let in too much.
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So we start closing down the aperture. What if that isn't enough? What will happen if we're at the smallest aperture setting - and we still have too much light.
Our next choice would be to go with the slowest film or ISO setting we can. That is certainly nice, it's going to give us nicely saturated, sound free shots... but there are limitations.
The simple fix is to block some of that light since our problem is the fact 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 certain amount of light. That's all! It doesn't alter the light in any way - it is neutral. The light entering the lens has all the same properties; there is simply less of it.
Voilla! You're now able to shoot that sleek, cotton sweet waterfall - on a brilliant sunny day!
Neutral density filters come in several strengths. You can block one stop of light, three, five, and so forth. Plus various densities can be 'stacked' for even more light blockage. You can place a five stop along with a three stop neutral density filter together for eight full stops! (That is a LOT of light!)
Neutral density filters have tons of uses, not only for waterfalls. In tomorrows photo tip post, I'll go into even more cool things you can do to enhance your landscape photography with these indispensable camera gear accessories.