photoshop creative

Extend exposures with a neutral density filter

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Tips from Digital Photographer, by Mark White
April 21, 2015

Blur water movement and create atmosphere in your landscapes

One of the most common subjects to use an ND filter with is water, as waterfalls and coastal scenes take on a whole new feel when the motion appears smooth and milky. ND filters are perfect for shooting during the day, and reduce the light entering your lens.

The Big stopper from Lee filters, for instance will reduce the light by approximately ten stops. In real terms, this turns a 1/30sec exposure into a 30-second one that’s perfect for recording smooth water motion.

Quick guide to water motion:

1/200 second

Depending on the speed and size of the waves, a shutter of around 1/200sec will freeze most kinds of water movement

1 second

A one to four-second exposure will create a misty blur of water. and the most natural look comes with speeds of 1/4 to two seconds

20 seconds

Between 4 and 30 seconds the water tends to lose its definition, and will take on a smooth, milky appearance. For even longer exposures, use Bulb mode.

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