Before&After (New Brighton Sea Defences.)



One of many sets of sea defences situated along the New Brighton coastline, these are great subjects to photograph when you plan an incoming tide with a sunset, and on this occasion both sun and tide turned out perfect. I can nail the tide time/height but unfortunately the British weather can be so unpredictable, so what's a perfect tide for this location, well after many attempts at this you need a 9 meter high tide which falls on the exact time as the sunset, anything higher you will have to climb the rocks behind you to get onto the wall, a really low tide at 7 met can leave you with less sea defences and probably visible sand in your shot. Also this was taken late June when the sun reaches its maximum setting position, then it starts to move back towards Wales for its winter setting point.

Creating Movement

Solid ND filters are great for long exposure photography and for creating shallow depth of field. They allow you to really get creative with your landscape photography by creating motion blur effects, such as the silky and dreamy effect that you often see with waterfalls and other moving bodies of water. They are also used for streaking clouds across the sky, which can alter the atmosphere of your shots.

Camera Settings

Image 1
Before shot, f/11@1/20sec - iso-100 with a 3 stop soft ND Graduated filter.
After shot, as above but with the addition of a 10 stop ND filter which recorded a 60 second exposure time.

Camera Settings

Image 2
Before shot, f/11@1/15th sec - iso-100 with a 3 stop Reverse Graduated filter.
After shot, as above with the addition of a 10 stop ND filter which recorded a 75 second exposure time.


The Shooting

The obvious thing is; you need a tripod. You can’t do long exposures handheld.

You have to be in manual mode, and switch of auto ISO to do long exposures. You need to be in control of all three parameters, ISO, Aperture and shutter time. Most DSLR or DSLR-like cameras (including the mirrorless cameras) has a maximum of a 30-second exposure. Bulb mode is required to make exposures longer than 30 seconds. Usually, this is something, which you dial to, using the same dial as you use for changing the exposure time.

You also need a remote release. You really want to avoid touching the camera, while shooting. I have a simple cable release which solves that problem.

You also want to switch on long exposure noise reduction. If you don’t you get strange hot pixel noise. The sensor heats up while exposing for such a long time, and the long exposure noise reduction, will help reducing the result from that. The downside is that it takes just as long to do, as your exposure took. A 6-minute exposure will also give a 6-minute noise reduction. That is a hard one to swallow.

To Conclude

Neutral Density Filters can be used to achieve a wide array of inspirational effects. They can take an average mundane scene and turn it into something captivating and spectacular.
Although some scenes will not be improved by using longer exposures, in the right settings the filters can make such a dramatic improvement to an image. Choosing the right filter and determining the right conditions can open up a whole new element of creativity when it comes to your photography.
I do hope this will help you achieve some inspiring images yourself.