- Your Guide to Neutral Density Filters
- Get Started in Long Exposure Photography With These Quick Tips
If you're like me, you're always searching for new and interesting ways to create unique landscape photos.
And though long exposure landscape photography might sound like something that's reserved just for the pros, it's much easier than you might think.
All you need is some essential gear and some know-how to get started. From there, it just takes practice!
The Case for Long Exposures: Creativity
Every photographer goes through it - the ups and downs that coincide with your successes and failures behind the lens.
One day you might be riding a wave of joy as you inspect the photos you take and find that they are every bit as epic as you hoped.
But the next day you might have absolutely nothing to show for your efforts and wonder why you even bother to take photos in the first place...
One way to try to even out the highs and lows of landscape photography is to try new things, like long exposures!
If you take the same photos of the same landscapes every single time you go out to shoot, you're bound to get bored.
What's more, your photos will become far too repetitive and you'll quickly lose interest in what you're shooting.
But if you vary your techniques - long exposures this time, macro landscape photography next time, sunsets after that, and so on, you'll be more likely to keep those creative juices flowing.
What's not to like about that?
Long Exposure Landscape Photography Puts a New Spin on Familiar Subjects
Living in Southern California, I have the luxury of being a short drive from the beach, the mountains, the desert, downtown L.A., and just about any other type of landscape or cityscape one could imagine.
But not everyone has that sort of diversity of subject matter just a few minutes from their front door.
That's why long exposure photography is so great because it allows you to create a completely different-looking shot of a subject that you've photographed a million times.
The image above, for example, is a perfectly fine shot.
But as you can see in this photo, when you introduce long exposures to the situation, you get a much different result.
In this case, the indicated movement of the clouds and the waves crashing on the beach gives this image an ethereal, dreamy look.
So, not only can extending the shutter speed help you be more creative, but it can also help you find new ways to photograph the same subject matter.
How to Get More Unique Landscape Photos: Gear Up
The key to getting quality long-exposure photos is in the gear that you use.
There are a number of must-haves that make long exposure landscape photography a possibility.
You need a camera and lens, obviously, as well as a solid tripod to keep your camera as still as possible throughout the long exposure. You also need a remote shutter release so you can trigger the shutter without actually touching the camera. This aids in keeping the camera still.
But perhaps the most important accessory for long exposure landscapes is a high-quality neutral density filter.
Neutral density filters, like the Firecrest ND Filter Kit shown above from Formatt-Hitech, have a solid coloration throughout the filter, meaning it has a consistent level of light-stopping power.
By reducing the amount of light that enters the camera's lens, neutral density filters allow you to achieve the slow shutter speeds required to get the gorgeous blur you see in long exposure photos.
What's great about the Firecrest line of neutral density filters is that they are hyper neutral.
That is, with a rare earth metal coating, these things give you gorgeous results with not aberrations or color casts.
What's more, these filters are constructed of Schott Superwite glass, meaning they're highly durable and will stand the test of time.
In addition, each filter has a multicoating that's bonded to the middle of the filter, giving it supreme scratch resistance.
Filters are a crucial component of long exposure photography, so you want to be sure to invest in filters that will give you the best results.
I've used Formatt-Hitech filters for years, and I can attest to their quality and ease of use!
For more details about neutral density filters and how to take epic long exposures, check the Learn More links below for detailed guides.