The Neutral Density (ND) filter was something I’d always heard about but didn’t really understand why I would need one considering software can apply filters in post-processing. It wasn’t until a recent trip to Hawaii which I really put the ND filter to use. I did some research and realized if I wanted those soft water fall pictures I’d seen in magazines, I would need to get an ND filter or hope for a somewhat cloudy, dark day. So before my trip, I picked up an B+W ND8 filter and did some practice runs on the street with moving cars.
The photo above was taken at f/22, 0.5″, 46mm, ISO 50. It was a super sunny day and I had to play around with the settings to get it to expose right.
This one was shot about the same: f/22, 0.3″, 30mm, ISO 50 – it had about the same lighting conditions as the waterfall. It was interested to see how dark an ND8 filter made the available light. I didn’t have any problems with stacking a circular polarizer on top of the ND8 in the above and below pictures – although I’m sure some people are going to scream about image quality or whatever. I also put the circular polarizer and ND8 combo on top of my UV/Haze filter too (gasp!).
It took a while to get used to composing landscapes – very different than the candid and portraiture I’m more used to. I really like the results and want to try some other neutral density techniques, like making people “disappear”. let me know what you think or how else I could improve landscape photography, it is definitely something I need to work on!