6 Locations to Use ND Filters for Lengthy Publicity Images

The publish 6 Places to Use ND Filters for Long Exposure Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Matt Murray.

6 places to use ND filters for long exposure photography

A neutral density (ND) filter is likely one of the most versatile equipment you possibly can have in your digicam bag. They might be small, however ND filters open up a spread of artistic choices for photographers.

In the event you want some inspiration on the place to make use of your impartial density filter, maintain studying. On this article, I’ll share with you a few of my favourite locations to make use of ND filters for long exposure photography.

What’s an ND filter, and why would I wish to use one?

A impartial density or ND filter is a bit of glass that sits in entrance of your lens and reduces the quantity of sunshine that reaches the sensor.

In the event you’ve by no means used an ND filter earlier than, you is likely to be questioning why you’d wish to do that; let me clarify.

Many lengthy publicity pictures rookies shoot at evening. Right here, a shutter pace of some seconds or extra is important for an correct publicity of the scene, and any motion captured within the picture is magically reworked right into a factor of magnificence. In case your digicam is regular on a tripod, buildings stay in sharp focus, however the motion of automobile headlights or dashing water is captured as fascinating streaks within the picture:

harbor with bridge and city
A impartial density filter could be a photographer’s greatest pal.

Capturing this sort of impact can solely be performed after darkish, proper?


With an ND filter, you possibly can take beautiful lengthy exposures in the course of the day.

You see, should you don’t use an ND filter, a protracted publicity in vivid daylight circumstances would end in an overexposed picture. However with an ND filter decreasing the quantity of sunshine that reaches the sensor, you have to use a a lot slower shutter speed to {photograph} the scene. This lets you seize motion.

There are such a lot of wonderful locations the place you should utilize an ND filter to take beautiful lengthy publicity photographs. I’ve listed a few of my favorites beneath, beginning with:

1. Waterfalls

Waterfalls are the place many photographers check out their ND filters for the primary time.

They’re definitely a implausible location so that you can begin; flowing water is reworked right into a silky-soft cascade, which provides photographs an actual wow issue.

Simply be careful for mist and water spray and ensure it doesn’t cowl your filter and lens!

waterfall long exposure
Waterfalls are a well-liked place to check out an ND filter.
Captured with my Fujifilm 16mm f/1.4 lens at Springbrook Nationwide Park in Queensland.

The depth of a waterfall can rely on latest rainfall. However the excellent news is that, regardless of how massive or small the waterfall is, it’ll look wonderful when shot with an ND filter.

2. Rivers and harbors

Rivers and harbors are implausible locations to seize motion and lights together with the stream of water.

Throughout sunlight hours, it’s doable to seize the motion of boats alongside the water. And because the solar goes down and town lights come on, ferries and boats create colourful gentle trails that may convey a picture to life.

I like this picture of a ferry on Sydney Harbour:

harbor long exposure
Rivers and harbors present an array of lengthy publicity alternatives.

Because of my ND filter, I used to be ready to make use of a shutter pace of round 1s, giving the ferry a pleasant, colourful blur (whereas buildings behind it stay in sharp focus).

3. Ocean swimming pools

Saltwater ocean swimming pools dot the Australian shoreline, with most of them discovered within the state of New South Wales. The swimming pools are very talked-about with locals and vacationers alike and might get very busy every morning. However the benefit of these iconic places is that you’ve got one other physique of water to {photograph} alongside the ocean.

This picture was taken early one morning in Yamba, New South Wales:

ND filters for long exposure photography ocean pool

I framed the pool within the foreground with the ocean and the cliffs within the background. As I used to be taking a sequence of lengthy exposures with a 10-stop ND filter, a swimmer jumped out of the pool proper in entrance of me, making a ghostly determine within the foreground of the body.

The picture beneath was taken at 6 AM (when it was already very vivid). I used to be interested in the scene by the reflections within the flooded space subsequent to the pool, which contrasted properly with the pool’s ethereal-looking water and the waves of the ocean on the far left.

ocean pool ND filters for long exposure photography
I like the three completely different our bodies of water on this ocean pool shot.

4. Visitors

Traffic trails are sometimes one of many first issues photographers shoot after they begin taking lengthy publicity photographs. Nicely after the solar has sunk beneath the horizon, a shutter pace of between 5 and 15 seconds is usually wanted to create a correctly uncovered shot, leading to a colourful blur of site visitors trails.

However when you have an ND filter, there’s no want to attend till after darkish.

This can be a composite of photographs I took with my ND2 filter at a subway station in Taipei, Taiwan:

city long exposure
A composite picture of nightfall in Taipei, Taiwan.

I knew I wanted an publicity of some seconds to profit from the site visitors and the subway practice within the picture. But it surely was too vivid, and my publicity occasions have been barely a second. Including an ND filter allowed me to seize this scene as I had envisioned, and the ultimate file is a composite of a few of these long-exposure photographs.

5. Funfairs

Funfairs and carnivals are implausible locations for pictures. There are such a lot of alternatives: individuals, rides, meals, and animals, to call just some.

And when the solar goes down, don’t head house – arrange your tripod for some lengthy publicity photographs.

That’s precisely what I did for this picture of a sideshow alley at Brisbane’s Royal Queensland present 4 years in the past. The photograph has been shared on Instagram yearly since – generally with my permission, generally with out. With an ND2 filter, I used to be in a position to take exposures that have been twice so long as normal.

fair in Brisbane long exposure
My photographs of this funfair in Brisbane have been very talked-about on Instagram.

6. Distinctive pure sights

Okay, so I’m dishonest somewhat with this final picture by combining two locations I’ve already talked about: a waterfall and the ocean.

This beautiful location (beneath) is the village of Gásadalur within the Faroe Islands. Sadly, there will not be many locations on the planet the place you possibly can see such an unimaginable sight, although there are in all probability many distinctive pure places close to the place you reside.

waterfall heading into ocean ND filters for long exposure photography
Maybe essentially the most distinctive waterfall on the planet, Gásadalur, Faroe Islands.

Gásadalur was primary on my listing of locations to {photograph} after I visited the Faroe Islands in 2017. Blessed with sunny climate on my first day, I headed to the coast simply exterior the village to take this shot. I wasn’t disillusioned.

6 locations to make use of ND filters: last ideas

Impartial density filters are fairly presumably the most convenient accent photographers can maintain of their digicam baggage. They’ve many makes use of, however the commonest is to take photographs with a sluggish shutter pace.

This makes ND filters a must have for lengthy publicity pictures throughout sunlight hours; you should utilize them to blur topics that may in any other case be frozen.

It’s all the time enjoyable to get out your tripod and ND filter and experiment!

Now over to you:

What are your favourite locations to make use of ND filters for lengthy publicity pictures? Share your ideas (and lengthy publicity photographs) within the feedback beneath!

The publish 6 Places to Use ND Filters for Long Exposure Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Matt Murray.

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