How Elia Locardi Uses Graduated and Solid Neutral Density Filters in San Juan

Welcome to the next, and 5th episode of our 8-part video tutorial series about long exposure photography, and how different filters can produce dramatic results. As a reminder, every time we release a new video, we give away some great prizes. Make sure to follow the instructions in this post to enter this week's contest.

So far, everything we've learned in the field has been focused on long exposure techniques for seascape photography. Now, it's time to make the transition to city and architectural photography and learn how to use a 15-stop solid ND filter along with a 3-stop soft graduated filter, to capture long streaky clouds over multi-minute exposures. We'll also examine how a polarizer works on skies as opposed to what we've seen in seascapes and water so far.

Puerto Rico is known for world class beaches and landscapes, but the classic architecture is very beautiful as well. Old San Juan is the perfect place to find unique compositions and take advantage of late afternoon and golden hour long exposure photography. Lee, Patrick, and I found this cool little spot overlooking the graveyard, which is a part of the hiking path that circles the old fortress walls of the city. Another thing to note is that they close the gate! So, if you plan to stay for sunset definitely note the few kilometers you'll need to walk along the foot path before getting back to the city.

In the two photos above, you can see how big of a difference the 15-stop solid neutral density filter affects the sky as well as the flags in the cemetery. Keep in mind, both images above already have the 3 stop graduated neutral density filter added so the exposure between the sky and the foreground are both evenly exposed. 

In the next episode, we'll shift the focus towards blue hour and night photography, how and when to use a polarizer with these lighting conditions, and most importantly, we'll take a look at the effects of the Nisi Natural Light Filter.

Don't forget to enter this new contest and follow along with this series as we explore more of Puerto Rico and discover more about long exposure photography.

Congrats to Thomas Williamson out of George Town, Cayman Islands for winning contest #4!

Elia Locardi's picture

Elia Locardi is an internationally recognized professional travel photographer, Fujifilm Global Ambassador, writer, public speaker & educator who spends his life shooting some of the most beautiful locations in the world. Location independent since 2012—he and his wife live a 100% mobile lifestyle and have visited more than 50 countries since 2009.

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