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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎03-23-2015

Neutral Density Filter?

I always wanted to take great waterfall pictures like I see in photp books but never wanted to go through "setting" the camera up or using a tripod.  Can I do that with this simple filter?  I look on Ebay and the price ranges fron $12 to $100!?  Can anyone recomend a filter/place to buy and cost!?  Thanks

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,401
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Neutral Density Filter?

You will need a tripod. All the filter does is cut down the amount of light to the camera allowing for longer exposures. Longer exposures = tripod. In this case, you can probably get by with neutral gels [search your favorite camera store] These are just plastic sheets that you can figure out some way to put in front of the lens.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,007
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: Neutral Density Filter?


@kvbarkley wrote:

You will need a tripod. All the filter does is cut down the amount of light to the camera allowing for longer exposures. Longer exposures = tripod. In this case, you can probably get by with neutral gels [search your favorite camera store] These are just plastic sheets that you can figure out some way to put in front of the lens.


You need a tripod for waterfall pictures only if you obey the current fad that waterfalls should look like blurry white streaks. At the shutter speeds required by those of us who don't subscribe to that fad, a tripod is irrelevant.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,401
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Neutral Density Filter?

A neutral density filter is irrelevant, too.

 

Sounds like he wants to be faddish, though. 8^)

VIP
Posts: 8,296
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Neutral Density Filter?


@illininutt wrote:

I always wanted to take great waterfall pictures like I see in photp books but never wanted to go through "setting" the camera up or using a tripod.  Can I do that with this simple filter?  I look on Ebay and the price ranges fron $12 to $100!?  Can anyone recomend a filter/place to buy and cost!?  Thanks


In most cases, you will need a ND filter.  Howver, if the water is moving very fast, you can get away with a handheld shot, and a shutter speed as slow as 1/4 second, but you would still need a tripod.

 

IMG_6767.jpg

 

I forget the shutter speed on the above shot, but I didn't use a ND filter to get that look on the water.  It is halfway between freezing the water splashing, and taking a long exposure to give it the frozen waterfall look. 

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,815
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Neutral Density Filter?

Taking advantage of motion-blur is hardly a recent fad.  I've seen images like this going back years.... taken with view cameras that required the use of film hangers, a dark slide, and a drape to go over the photographers head while they focus & frame the shot.

 

All the Neutral Density filter does for you is change the shooting circumstances.... by cutting the light down by about 10 stops (so you get about 1/1000ths of the light) a "sunny 16" exposure at ISO 100, f/16, and 1/100th sec becomes 10 stops slower.... would become an 8 second exposure (usually just a few seconds is enough to create very obvious blur.

 

You generally wont be shooting in a hurry ... when using these very dark filters, it isn't typically possible to frame or focus the shot with the filter on the lens.  So you frame & focus with no filter, meter, then work out 10 stops back on the shutter speed, make sure the lens is set to manual focus, then carefully attach the 10 stop filter (without changing focus) so you can take the shot.

 

You will, of course, need a tripod (that's not optional).

 

You will also want a way to trigger the shutter without touching the camera... but that isn't a necessity... you can use the camera's self-timer.  The camera will get a tiny vibration from you touching the shutter button and it needs time to let the vibration settle before the shutter opens.

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,007
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: Neutral Density Filter?

[ Edited ]

@TCampbell wrote:

Taking advantage of motion-blur is hardly a recent fad.  I've seen images like this going back years.... taken with view cameras that required the use of film hangers, a dark slide, and a drape to go over the photographers head while they focus & frame the shot.

 ... 


I don't claim that the current fad has no historical precedent; I'm merely saying that I don't like it. Of course in the draped view camera era, film speeds were so slow that the photographers of the day had little choice in the matter. I grew up in the 40s and 50s when Edgerton and Killian's electronic flash was in vogue. The object then was to freeze drops of water in mid-flight, and I must have absorbed that attitude. (My dad had a copy of E&K's book, "Flash: Seeing the Unseen with Ultra-high-speed Photography", and I lapped it up. The pendulum has swung back the other way, I guess, but I've elected not to ride it.

 

Here's how I think a waterfall should be rendered. The picture is my wife's, not mine, but it makes the point. (She and I agree on most compositional issues.)

Grist_Mill 16.JPG

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
VIP
Posts: 11,315
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Neutral Density Filter?

You need neither tripod nor ND filter if you learn how to use Photoshop.

 

waterfall_smooth1-large.jpg

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
VIP
Posts: 8,296
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Neutral Density Filter?


@RobertTheFat wrote:

@TCampbell wrote:

Taking advantage of motion-blur is hardly a recent fad.  I've seen images like this going back years.... taken with view cameras that required the use of film hangers, a dark slide, and a drape to go over the photographers head while they focus & frame the shot.

 ... 


I don't claim that the current fad has no historical precedent; I'm merely saying that I don't like it. Of course in the draped view camera era, film speeds were so slow that the photographers of the day had little choice in the matter. I grew up in the 40s and 50s when Edgerton and Killian's electronic flash was in vogue. The object then was to freeze drops of water in mid-flight, and I must have absorbed that attitude. (My dad had a copy of E&K's book, "Flash: Seeing the Unseen with Ultra-high-speed Photography", and I lapped it up. The pendulum has swung back the other way, I guess, but I've elected not to ride it.

 

Here's how I think a waterfall should be rendered. The picture is my wife's, not mine, but it makes the point. (She and I agree on most compositional issues.)

Grist_Mill 16.JPG


That's a pretty nice shot.  But, I have to ask.  Does the waterfall really look like that to the naked eye?  I would be inclined to think that the brain would try to integrate the falling sheets of water into a coherent image.  I think this shot would have benefited nicely from a slower shutter speed.

 

The brain cannot discriminate successive events occurring less than 1/60 of a second, or even less than 1/30 of second, as any motion picture can quickly prove.  I would be really curious to see what that would look like with a 1/60 shutter speed.

 

In my example, I slowed it down more than I realized.  I was looking for less of the frozen over look, and more of the dynamic look that you have captured.  I think my shutter was somewhere around 1/8 second, or so.  I think 1/30 would have been more ideal.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
VIP
Posts: 8,296
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Neutral Density Filter?


@ebiggs1 wrote:

You need neither tripod nor ND filter if you learn how to use Photoshop.

 

waterfall_smooth1-large.jpg


That is postcard perfect, Ernie.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
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