“This photo was taken at a place very near and dear to my heart: Watch Hill Lighthouse in Rhode Island. My Dad and I have been going fishing there for as long as I can remember and I spent many of my Sundays as a child roaming around on these rocks. I recently decided I wanted to start shooting seascapes with long exposures in the middle of the day. I didn’t have the extra money to buy a high-end ten-stop ND filter to achieve the results I wanted. I read some articles online about using a piece of welding glass as a ten-stop ND filter so I purchased a piece of welding glass for three dollars and decided to give it a try.
This was not my first attempt at using the welding glass, but this was my first attempt at shooting a seascape with the long exposure technique. My goal was to create a calm ocean in the background with the contrast of the seaweed covered rocks that I use to climb around on as a child in the foreground. This ended up being the only image I was able to make in this location due to the fact that I fell in the water and almost lost my gear in the process. It was worth it though, when I went home and started to edit this image I knew I achieved the image I wanted to create. For me it’s proof that expensive gear is not always needed to create images that you as a photographer want to create and ultimately end up falling in love with.
To use the welding glass I attach my lens hood on my lens backwards and use extremely strong rubber bands wrapped around the welding glass. I hook the rubber bands around the wings of my lens hood that’s attached to my lens. You need to focus your image before you place the welding glass on the front of the lens and I suggest wrapping a cloth around the edges of the lens where the welding glass is attached because their might be a small gap between the lens and welding glass, this will help to stop light leaks in your image. I then use a wired shutter release and my iPhone timer to capture the exposure I want. When editing the image there will be a green or yellow colorcast from the welding glass. You can try to color correct it or convert it to black and white.”- Chris Nachtwey