“I chose the ND filter to avoid overexposure and control the powerful glow"

"Silence of Eternity", Lago di Limides, Italy
"Silence of Eternity", Lago di Limides, Italy (Image credit: Daniel Costa)

Entitled "Silence of Eternity", Daniel Costa captured this golden moment at Lago di Limides, a beautiful lake in the Italian Dolomite mountains. He talks to us about how the photo was taken, and why it works…

1. Center composition

With this composition, Daniel has captured all the elements together to create a scene with a sense of harmony, isolation and stillness. The shot was taken at Lago di Limides, a beautiful lake in the Italian Dolomite mountains. “As soon as I arrived at this magical place, I had an inexplicable sense of peace,” Daniel says. 

“It was crucial to choose a composition where I was able to include my favourite things – the reflection that evokes silence and serenity, the magical sunlight, the clouds that direct the viewer’s gaze, the whole mountain range in its grandeur and the trees that give the image its sense of scale.”

2. Controlled glow

Daniel used an ND grad filter to control the exposure of the scene. “I chose the Firecrest Ultra 0.9 ND grad to avoid overexposure and control the powerful glow coming from the sun at the left side of the frame,” he says. The golden tones give the image its warmth, contrasting with the otherwise cold colors contained in the frame. In this way, the viewer is drawn to the striking patches of sunshine on the mountains.

3. Leading clouds

Daniel also used an ND filter, which opened up a broader range of visual possibilities. “Using the Firecrest Pro 1.8 ND filter meant that I could keep the shutter open for longer,” he says. This proved crucial for the final result as it meant he could work with long exposure to stretch the clouds and make the frame more homogeneous. In stretching the clouds, Daniel could create several leading lines to the center of the frame.

4. Mirror image

Reflections in the water create a mirror image of the mountain scene, giving it both symmetry and a sense of calm. “It always surprises me how the stillness of water and the silence of nature blend perfectly to create a peaceful and meditative mood,” he says. “The reflections hold the audience’s eye and also convey the silence.” Daniel prefers to shoot his landscape photography during the golden hour of early morning or late afternoon. “One of the biggest advantages is that during sunrise and sunset, the wind usually calms down, which gives much better reflections,” he says.

Daniel Costa Portrait
Daniel Costa

Costa is a pro photographer from the town of Sintra in Portugal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located inside the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. He is a brand ambassador for both Formatt-Hitech and Sunwayfoto, and has travelled to 23 countries around the world over the past few years. He has published two books and now focuses on writing magazine reviews and articles and on running photography workshops and tours.

Tech details

(Image credit: Future)

Camera: Nikon D810

Lens: Nikon 16-35mm f/4 USM


- Formatt Hitech Firecrest Pro 1.8ND

- Firecrest Ultra 0.9ND Grad

- Sunwayfoto T2C40C tripod

- XB44 tripod ball head

Aperture: f/16

Shutter speed: 30sec 

ISO: 64

Digital Photographer

This article originally appeared in Digital Photographer, a monthly magazine, and the kitbag essential for pros, enthusiasts, and amateurs alike!

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Kim Bunermann
Technique Editor

Kim is the Technique Editor of Digital Photographer Magazine. She specializes in architecture, still life and product photography and has a Master's degree in Photography and Media with a distinction from the FH Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences in Germany. While studying, Kim came to the UK for an exchange term at the London College of Communication. She settled in the UK and began her career path by joining Future. Kim focuses on tutorials and creative techniques, and particularly enjoys interviewing inspiring photographers who concentrate on a range of fascinating subjects including women in photography, the climate crisis; the planet, its precious creatures and the environment.

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