Tag Archives: Vari-N-Duo

Choosing the Right Neutral Density Filter for Long Exposures

Badlands, South Dakota. 130s exposure using a Singh-Ray 10-stop ND filter
Badlands, South Dakota. 130s exposure using a Singh-Ray 10-stop ND filter

Long exposures are a simple way to get creative with your photography. As I’ve discussed before, a good long exposure requires three elements:

  • Something moving in the frame (to be blurred)
  • Something stationary in the frame (to anchor the shot)
  • Slow shutter speeds

The traditional ways of slowing shutter speed are to (1) use a low ISO setting on your camera and (2) to stop down the lens aperture (f/16 or smaller). However, if you want to use a long exposure in daylight conditions, those two settings won’t help you much. Consider the standard “sunny 16” exposure: 1/100s @f/16 @ISO 100. Hmm. Stop down to f/22 and you get 1/50s. Not very slow. Maybe your camera can be set to a lower ISO, say ISO 50. That will get you to 1/25s. Again, that’s slow enough to blur cars or fast-moving water slightly, but it’s a big constraint. Moreover, some DSLRs have a base ISO of 200, meaning that you are even more limited in getting a slow shutter speed. Continue reading Choosing the Right Neutral Density Filter for Long Exposures