Your Camera Equipment Should Contain Neutral Density Filters, to Get Better Landscape Photography!
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 not be duplicated after the fact. It has to be in the camera.
I'm sure you have 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'll be able to shoot it so that it looks like a gigantic string of cotton candy! And everything in between!
Incidentally, are you aware that Niagara Falls really stopped flowing for about 20 hours in 1848 because there was ice which was obstructing the Niagara River? Picture a before and after shot of THAT!
Anyway, back to our tip...
We know that to get the image that is sharp, we want a fast shutter speed and to get the cotton candy blur we need a slow one.
Another good reason to place your camera on manual! You won't ever get award winning shots on automatic! They're going to look like everyone else's.
What if we want a really slow shutter speed, but it is a brilliant day? Just a certain amount of light can be let in for a great exposure, as you know - it's going to ruin the shot if you let in too much.
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So we begin closing down the aperture. What if that isn't enough? Imagine if we are at the lowest 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 will give us nicely saturated, noise free shots... but there are constraints.
The simple fix is to obstruct some of that light, since our problem is that too much light is entering the lens.
Enter the 'Neutral Density Filter'.
The neutral density filter is a filter that is designed to block a a predetermined amount of light. That's all! It doesn't change the light in any way - it is neutral. The light entering the lens has all the same properties; there is only less of it.
Voilla! You are now able to shoot that silky, waterfall that is cotton candies - on a brilliant sunny day!
Neutral density filters come in several strengths. It's possible for you to block one stop of light, three, five, and so on. Plus various densities can be 'stacked' for even more light blockage. You may put a three stop neutral density filter along with a five stop together for eight full stops! (That is a LOT of light!)
Neutral density filters have lots of uses, not only for waterfalls. In tomorrows photo suggestion post, I'll go into even more cool things you certainly can do to enhance your landscape photography with these indispensable camera gear accessories.