9th September 2011 Rain and Neutral Density

Umbrella In The RainToday was a rainy, windy day which gives different opportunities for photos. I took some photos of palm tree leaves in the rain and then went into town as I visualised a photo of someone struggling with their umbrella. I took the tripod as I wonted to render the scene sharp expect for the person and umbrella. I waited outside ANZ bank for just five minutes before this lady came along and here was my shot.

In order to render the scene sharp and the moving person blurred it is necessary to use a tripod and also to show the shutter down. The only problem with this is that in normal daylight it can be hard to achieve. That is where Neutral Density filters come to the rescue.  First of all we need to select a small aperture such as f/8 and also a low ISO like ISO 80. These two settings will ensure as little light as possible reaches the film plane and also the digital sensor is turned down (ISO 80 say).  But when I set up the camera, today these settings caused the shutter to be too fast, 1/40 sec,  to render my moving subject as blurred. So the answer is to use Neutral density filters.

The Neutral density filters are just like putting a pair of sunglasses in front of the camea. They cut down the amount of light that hits the film plane (or digital sensor). Just like sunglasses they come in different densities from light to really dark and they also can be made graduated dark to light.

By far the most useful filter you can ever buy are ND filters and ND Grads (graduated Filters). I bought my first ND filter, a Cokin at the age of 14 and since then have bought ND filters from Hitech, B+W and Hoya before settling for top of the range from Lee and Singh-Ray.  It is always worth buying the best ND filters you can afford as the cheapers one’s can suffer with colour casts.  

The camera I used today has its own in built 2 stop ND filter which can be turned on using a menu option. What a neat new feature! In this case it was all that was necessary to reduce the shutter speed from 1/40 sec to 1/10 sec.  Excellent! Thank you for this feature canon, next time can we also have a 3 stop filter too please?

Tech Stuff
Canon G11
f/8 – to cut the light down and have all the background in focus
1/10 sec – very slow and necessary to record the moving person as blurred
ISO 80 – to cut the light down
Camera on manual exposure and manual focus set at 4M
Camera inbuilt ND filter used

Umbrella In The Rain

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fujifilm x100 Hi there, love your photos and what you have wrote on another page of the Fuji X50 Cheers!

Blaine Ravel Hey, I really like the rain in photos. Not many people bother taking photos in the rain Cheers

Bradley Dyreson Looking forward to reading more from you Mr Photographer!…

Palmer Pendergraft you top photographer !!

maternity photography Hello there, I find you really informative and think a lot of other folks will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

Marion Looker Hello, I really enjoyed your comments above. Keep up the excellent work ! Thanks Very Much.

Panasonic TZ20 Hi, i think that you should expand this site to camera testing. You would make a excellent camera tester

Sjove billeder Great blog here!

Damion Hegarty You have motivated me to take pictures in the rain

Kemberly Mintreas Thanks for making me aware of these neutral density filters

Erin Dauzat great pic

Judy Got it! Thanks

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