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How to Use a Powerful ND Filter for Long Exposure Landscape Photos

ND filters are a favorite tool of a lot of landscape photographers, useful for creating otherworldly long exposures that simply would not be possible otherwise. If you are new to using them, this helpful video tutorial will show you the process of using a 10-stop filter to create images. 

Coming to you from Perea Photography, this great video tutorial will show you the process of using a 10-stop ND filter for landscape images. Neutral density (ND) filters generally come in three flavors: 3-stop, 6-stop, and 10-stop. Though there are other options, such as variable ND or even more powerful filters, the aforementioned powers are those you can find most often. A 10-stop filter will lengthen your exposure by a factor of 1,024 (2^10, thus the 10-stop designation), meaning, for example, a 1/30 s exposure will be turned into an approximately 34-second exposure. This light-stopping power makes such ND filters a favorite of a lot of landscape photographers, as they can turn even the most chaotic water silky smooth and create entrancing streaks of clouds in the sky. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Perea. 

And if you really want to dive into landscape photography, check out "Photographing The World 1: Landscape Photography and Post-Processing with Elia Locardi." 

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Roger Cozine's picture

I agree completely. A 10-Stop ND Filter can make an otherwise boring photo into something to be proud of. It can also get you out of a jam. In this photo, I used it to reduce the amount of brutal afternoon sunlight, which allowed me get some slower shutter speeds and kill the suns reflections on every wet surface. This shot isn't anything special, but it's better than the unfiltered photo.

Robert Nurse's picture

ND filters give you additional creative paths. With them, these shots would have been just okay. But, I like them a lot more with the added drama. Both took a little over 18 mins as I tacked on an additional 6-stop ND. I probably didn't need to go that far. But, hey, why not?