Everything you wanted to know about Long Exposure filters
My long exposure images would not be possible without the use of neutral density (ND) filters. They allow me to smooth the sky and smooth water all in-camera, among other things, by increasing my exposure time. Most commonly I use 16 stops of ND filters, which in the middle of a normal bright day will give me exposure times in-between 5-7 minutes. This time is a function of other camera settings obviously, and for me those are ISO 100 and f/7.1 (or thereabout).
My friend Joel Tjintjelaar (one of the long exposure masters) wrote: “Everything you wanted to know about Long Exposure filters, Fine-art architectural photography and the preferred choice of ND filters for international award-winning photographers such as Mabry Campbell, myself and Julia Anna Gospodarou who interviewed VP of marketing from Formatt Hitech Ltd Rod Clark in this great video interview.”
For full disclosure of course, I am a sponsored photographer of Formatt-Hitech. I use their filters not because they are a sponsor, but because their filters are ridiculously neutral with hardly any color cast. Color cast can be a major problem when using ND filters which you will also learn in the video below. I specifically use Formatt-Hitech ProStop IRND 100mm square filters. I no longer use filters by B+W filters or Lee. Formatt-Hitech is far superior in my opinion. Bottom line, I use equipment that helps me make the highest quality fine art images I can.
Video with Rod Clark of Formatt-Hitech:
Long Exposure Image:
In my image below the exposure time was 6.5 minutes using 16 stops of ND filters, f/7.1, ISO 100. The silky smooth water and sky were not created in Photoshop with a fancy trick! Those elements were created in-camera during the original exposure. It’s my opinion to get as much “right’ in-camera as you can.
I hope you found this helpful! Long exposure photography has a steep learning curve, and it brings out ALL the flaws in our equipment, so as usual please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post your questions in Comments and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.