ND Filter to get slow shutter speeds

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My new Hoya 400 ND filter finally arrived and today I managed to get out and try it.
To the best of My knowledge this is a 9 stop filter, Correct me if I’m wrong. Holding it up
to my eye and looking through it My first impression was that it was dark,Very dark.
To use this strength of filter there are a  few things that are very necessary to take with you,
First very important item is a very sturdy tripod also you will need a cable release as the exposure times
 range anything from five mins to several days. Because of the time needed for your exposures I
would also recommend that all your batteries are fully charged.
To work out your exposure time I would recommend you install a handy little app called ND Calc, This is
available for Android smart phones and the iPhone.

Proper exposure Without ND Filter

Taken without ND Filter

Normal exposure taken without ND Filter

First thing is find something to photograph, I went to a little river which is only about 10 minuets drive from where I live.
I set my camera on to my tripod and framed my shot. To do this I put my Canon 5D Mk11 into manual mode, manual focus and turned on live view, I find live view very handy for landscape photography and that you can zoom in on the smallest of detail and manual focus on that point.

Okay with my shot framed the next thing is to decide on my settings. I went for an aperture of F/16 at ISO 100 this gave me a shutter speed of 6 seconds. Not bad but I wanted to go a lot more the that.

Now that I know my aperture and shutter speed its time to plug-in my shutter release cable and switch my camera to bulb mode. With the camera in bulb mode it’s time to screw on my ND Filter. You have to wait until now to do this because the filter cuts out that much light that the camera can’t focus and you really wont be able to see much through the view finder.

It’s now to get my smart phone out and use the ND Calc app. Choose the strength of filter fitted and on the right and side your shutter speed which in this case was six seconds. With my setting  the app is telling me that my exposure time is now 5 mins and 7 seconds, That’s more like it, 307 seconds wow

Now I’m ready to go, I press the button on the shutter release and go have my lunch, Only joking. I watch the seconds tick away on the display of my camera, Another handy little feature I’ve discovered on my camera.

The time has pasted and I press the button on my cable release to end the exposure, I cant wait to see the outcome, Its down on my knees to look into the display screen with eager anticipation. I was well pleased with what I got, No blinkers.and a good exposure.

Now its back home to the computer to have a better look.

This is the outcome of my 307 second exposure at ISO 100 F/16 & 10 stop filter

Slow shutter speeds and water using 10 stop nd filter

Long exposure using 10 stop ND filter


See colour version