Welding Glass Experiment
Hey all, :)
As much as I would love to go out and buy a "Big Stopper", I can't justify shelling out around £200 to get one (at least, I can't justify it to the wife... :D).
So, after hearing about people using a piece of welding glass to similar effect, I thought I'd give it a go... and here is what I came up with:
I used a 120 second exposure with hyperfocal focusing at f/22, ISO 100, and a Cokin ND grad in addition to the welding glass. I also used a remote release and mirror lock-up to retain as much sharpness as I could.
The welding glass gave the image a green colour cast, so I've removed that in Photoshop and tweaked the curves a little while I was at it.
This is my first attempt at a long daytime exposure like this, and I realise that an actual 10-stop filter would give better results, but I would love to hear any feedback or critique on my efforts. :)
Not bad, usually welding glass puts too much green.
BTW, you can get good results for £75 with a Formatt/Hi-Tech. I have their 10 stop (Pro Stop) 100 mm and it works very well.
Very good for a cheap fix but like donoreo said there are a few very good 10 stoppers for well under £100 .
Looking at the building it seems the image could do with a small rotation to the left to straighten things up a bit and the only other tweak that I would look at is to increase the contrast a bit to darken down the shadows while keeping those great high lights in the clouds and grass .
As always these are just my thoughts .
The welding glass is a good idea. I forked out for a big stopper a while back and promptly dropped it the very first time I used it, breaking a corner off. Its now held together with gaffer tape but thankfully is still usable. Not my happiest day!
Anyway, regarding your shot. Sounds like you've done all you can for sharpness, though depending on your lens you may get slightly better results at f16-f18, many lenses drop off a little at the extremes of their range, Also, makes sure all your glass is spotlessly clean, lens, filters and welding glass, it can make a big difference to sharpness on long exposures (and short ones!). Light leaking in the viewfinder can also soften the image, so cover or shade that while your shutter is open.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, the LE filters need quite a bit of playing around with before you can get really good results on the sky. Water is relatively easy to make look good, but for the sky the clouds, cloud direction etc has a hug impact. The clouds you have look a little awkward as they are moving in different directions. Try shooting into or against the wind direction and you'll get more of a zoom effect. Or an even longer exposure will give you a more ghostly blur. You may need to shot later or earlier to get the extra exposure time.
Keep experimenting with it and you'll soon get a feel for what will work well, and when your actually better off just shooting a normal length exposure
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