Skip to main content

How to use a 10 stop square shaped neutral density filter?

Since the beginning of my photography journey, I have always been a fan of clouds, stars, sunset, sunrise and ocean. 11-16 mm and a 70-300 mm telephoto lens can definitely be called as my best friends. Having purchased a 10 stop neutral density filter recently, this post is about my experience using an ND filter for the first time. It will also serve as a step by step tutorial for using a neutral density filter.
Let's start with a bit of introduction. A neutral density filter is a dark piece of glass or resin used to minimize the amount of light hitting the DSLR sensor. They can be either circular (ring mount) or rectangular (square mount) in shape. Brands like Haida, Hoya, Cokin, B+W, Singh-Ray, Lee, etc are some of the major neutral density filter manufacturers. The darkness of material stays uniform in a classic ND filter unless it is a graduated ND filter. Graduated neutral density filter is a sub-type of ND filters which can be divided into further 2 parts:

Soft grad: The darker-softer part merge is gradual, smooth and hard to notice. 
Hard grad: The darker-softer part merge is sudden, rough and easy to notice. 

The image below represents my classic 10 stop Haida neutral density filter.

Rectangular filter from haida
Haida 10 stop ND filter


Silver metallic ND filter box
Haida filter box
It came in a really nice metal case with a shiny and smooth touch. If you are wondering about the meaning of ND3.0 or 1000x, check out one of the old posts explaining the nomenclature of neutral density filters. As the filter is square in shape, we need something to hold it properly in front of the lens. For this, a ring matching the size of lens filter and a slot mount is required. A typical set up for rectangular filters looks similar to my camera image shown below.

10 stop ND filter set-up
Rectangular ND filter set up

Coming to the photography, a good tripod and DSLR remote shutter is a must for getting decent shots using a neutral density filter. This helps to avoid possible shake issues due to camera touch or slight wind. Here is the step by step process for using a rectangular 10 stop ND filter:
1) Connect the ring and slot mount to the ring of your lens. 
2) Connect the remote shutter and set the exposure value. 
3) Compose the shot, focus (manual or auto..up to you). 
4) Switch to manual focus once composed and position is set. Or you can use the back button focus technique here, but it would require you to consistently hold a button.
5) Slide the ND filter into the slot with extreme caution. You don't want to disturb the focus or composition while sliding it in. Once done, it would be totally dark and impossible to see. 
6) Activate the remote shutter and wait for the filter to do the magic. 

Here is a 10-second exposure shot I took recently just before sunset.



Enjoy the silky water and cotton ball clouds doing long exposure photography. 
Pro Tip: A lens with rotating front element for focusing will be harder to work with ND filters as compared to a lens with a fixed front element.

If you enjoyed this post, share the photography love by sharing this post:)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

sRGB vs Adobe RGB colour space explained

Digital images are everywhere, both offline and online. Each digital image is made up of a large number of square sized individual pixels. Zoom into an image at 2000 % or more in any of the viewers, you will see these pixels. Here is an example:


In order to categorize pixel colours, RGB and CMYK are the two widely used colour models. According to the RGB colour model, each pixel colour can be considered as an addition of different shades of red/green/blue light. These light shades are calculated according to the bit depth of the image. Jpeg images are usually 8 bits per colour channel (red, blue or green), which means 2^8 ( 256) different shades of each red/blue/green colour are possible. Few examples to make it clear how different colours shades are represented:
Red: (255, 0, 0)
Green: (0,255,0)
Blue: (0,0,255)
White: (255, 255, 255)
Black:  (0,0,0)



What does CMYK do? It is a subtractive colour model for printing purposes and stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. According to …

5 things to know before switching DSLR between Canon and Nikon

Photography is an expensive hobby or profession and everyone wants the best bang for every dollar they spend. This applies to any photography equipment starting with low-cost tripods to super expensive professional grade lenses. I am sure all of us must have heard of Nikon and Canon. The good old battle between these two DSLR brands will never end. Whether you are a beginner or a full time professional, there are a few quirks everyone should know before switching camera between these brands.
1) The used market for Canon gear is just enormous which makes a good plus point for investment and buying decent used gear. Go to craigslist for a given city and search used photography gear, the difference will be easily noticeable. I searched for 10 different cities in Canada and all had comparatively more listings for Canon.
2) Nikon has better dynamic range cameras. Dynamic range is the ability of the camera to sense the lightest and darkest scene in a given photo retaining as much detail as…

Digital photography histogram explained for better photos

The ability to read histograms in digital photography is an excellent skill that every photographer should have. Getting a properly exposed shot is crucial when it comes to photography, and using the histogram is a solid way to achieve it. That 2 to 3 inch LCD screen located on digital cameras is only a quick way to look at the photo exposure and its details. In harsh lighting or vivid ambient lighting conditions, it can prove to be misleading to the human eye. Sometimes the LCD brightness level can also create issues with judging the exposure of a shot. So what does histogram explain about an image? How can histogram help you to take better images? In this beginner-friendly post, I will try to answer these questions. You can consider it as a tutorial or cheat sheet for digital photography histograms.
Photography histogram image examples: The histogram is basically a mathematical way of representing data, and it applies to digital image information too. In digital photography, histogr…