A cold stroll by the river

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by fractal, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. fractal

    fractal TalkEmount Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 17, 2014
    Southeastern PA
    For Christmas my daughter gifted my a Tiffen Neutral Density .9 Filter. I wanted a graduated filter but I was amazed that she had the wherewithal to get me this one. Finally I decided to test it out. I had never used a ND before so it was a bit of trial and error. The night before we had some snow and I had this shot in my mind that I thought would look great with the snow covered trees. The plan was to leave early, go to our local park/trail by the river then hustle to work which is close to the park. I was prepared to deal with the cool 5 degree air by wearing long underwear, double socks, and boots while bringing along shoes to change into. Unfortunately, I was delayed leaving my house and didn't have the time to go before work. I did however, take along the boots, my tripod, NEX-7, SZ 24mm 1.8 and the ND filter to work.

    It turned out to be the first clear sunny day we had in awhile which was good but also bad for me because the sun melted much of the gorgeous snow in the trees by noon. I still decided to go after work more as an experiment than anything. The path to and over the bridge was clear but the jogging trail along the river was covered in 3 inches of snow. Good thing I had my boots; at least that's what I thought. As I walked the trail under the bridge, the snow hid a sheet of ice which sent me flying head over heals, tripod and camera in one hand and small camera bag with the SEL 50 over my shoulder. I landed hard, partly on the camera bag while holding up the tripod with camera attached. Luckily, nothing was broken; including bones. I got up, recovered and found my spot, set up the tripod and took some photos. The NEX-7 had no issues with the single digit temperatures. The ND did indeed give me about 3 stops of light diffusion. Still, the longest I could go was about 2 1/2 seconds at ISO 100 and f/22 and that was still a bit overexposued. Here are the results after some processing in Lightroom. I would love to hear any comments, observations, criticism/feedback.




    Not sure if I really like this shot or really hate it...


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  2. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Legend

    Oct 8, 2013
    I like the photos for sure.

    And every time I see a post about a ND filter it makes me that much more interested in studying up on them and their possible uses, maybe try one myself in the future.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. SpaceManSpiff

    SpaceManSpiff TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Dec 13, 2013
    Tucson, AZ
    Fun stuff! I would love to experiment with a filter like that myself for a cool perennial creek we have nearby...I have visions of a long exposure shot at sunset...or maybe moonlight. So the filter is a 3-stop filter?

    I am glad you didn't break anything in the fall! At our local photography club, one of our members brought in a Nikon zoom he had snapped off at the lens mount when he slipped on some snow-covered rocks (we had a freak snow storm on NYE) and slammed into the ground. Ouch!

    Re: your pictures. Seems like it needs to be a longer exposure to have an obvious effect on the water (or it is pretty calm water anyway). I like the contrast in feeling of warmth/cold sun/shadows in Picture#3. (And there is a dust monster in shots #1 and #2 :oops: where is the emoticon of the guy hiding behind the brick wall) I would to see more pictures of further experiments.
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  4. fractal

    fractal TalkEmount Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 17, 2014
    Southeastern PA
    Yes - 3 stop filter.

    Got to watch for hidden ice!

    I was let down by the smoothing effect, but it was calm water to begin with. I'll have to go back when the snow is melting. Lol! thanks for spotting out the dust! I did edit it out ( not so well ) in #3 but never saw it in 1 and 2.
  5. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Legend

    Oct 8, 2013
    In reading up on ND filters...again, LOL...seems like the notion of a variable density ND filter isn't necessarily the best answer, can have it's own problems...so for flexibility, do I assume correctly that maybe a couple of ND filters like a 3-stop and a 2-stop would have given you what you could have used in your experiment?
    • Like Like x 1
  6. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Glad you didn't get hurt :)

    I like photo #3 :thumbup:

    I love long exposure photography too, and while I did a lot of night time LE photos, only recently I experimented with daytime LE with ND filters...

    My results have been disappointing though so far. Mainly cause I use cheap square type filters (not screw in round type). I only have a 2-stop and a 3-stop so max I can do combining both is 5-stop which is not enough for our sunny Mediterranean climate. Plus, cheap ND filters produce an ugly color cast, get dirty/scratched very easily (so ruined photos) and my copies combined make the photos very soft/unsharp. Sure, I need to practice more and definitely invest in better quality ND filters. I also thing that the time of the day I choose to take the photos is not ideal too - daytime LE photography is better either very early in the morning or later in the afternoon IMO.

    This is my best attempt so far
    (dirty sensor plus dirty ND filters IS a bad combo :D )

    16278343897_8f1ceac1d8_c. DSC06416-2 by Nick Corrado, on Flickr
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