Have you ever wondered how pro photographers capture movement in their landscape shots to produce soft, blurry clouds and misty waterfalls? Are your long exposures just not delivering the same effect? Chances are that those pro images have been shot using a neutral density filter. These dark filters are designed to reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor in order to increase exposure times, without affecting the colour of the image. But how do you know when to use ND filters?
While you can achieve a long shutter exposure easily at dusk and dawn, what if you want to use a long exposure during the day? The trick is to get yourself a strong ND filter (neutral density), which cuts out nine or 10 stops of light.
A long exposure can create milky water effects and is great for waterfall pictures, as well as blurred clouds in when shooting landscape photography; but that isn’t their only use. A long exposure is also handy for making moving subjects ‘disappear’ when you shoot buildings, street scenes or architecture. Sometimes it’s great to include people in a scene to give a sense of scale or location, but they can be distracting if you want a clean composition.
Tired of textbook landscape photos? Want photo ideas that offer you something a little more impressionistic? Then go slow and get moving. By using slow shutter speeds and moving the camera smoothly during the exposure, you can create striking abstract landscapes. Shoot handheld for unpredictable results or – as we explain here – use a tripod and move the camera in one direction for more defined scenic ‘streaks’.
Follow these photography tips to create fine art minimalist landscapes and seascapes. Just add a Neutral Density filter and your favourite black and white sofware…