ND filters. Any tips and tricks?


TPF Noob!
Jul 23, 2013
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I have a set of ND filters winging their way to me at the moment (3 full, 3 gradual). I'm hoping to get them before I go away and I was wondering what tips and tricks you have for them?
any unorthodox uses to produce different results?
any examples of good/bad use of ND filters?
Obviously, a few-stop ND filter will allow you to shoot wide open, or with a longer shutter speed. The wide-open is nice for getting good bokeh, even with midday harsh sunlight. You can stop down a little to get long shutter speeds in broad daylight and shoot pictures of running water with shutter speeds like 4 s to get the smooth water pictures that look great. You can also use the slow shutter speeds, although faster than 4s, to get pictures of cars or bicyclists and use panning so that the background has motion blur, but the subject doesn't. The gradual can be good for shooting landscapes, where if you were to take the picture without the filter, the sky would be overexposed and the ground would be underexposed or vise versa. I'm thinking a bright desert on a sunny day, or a dense, dark forest on a white sky.

As far as bad uses, if you're getting motion blur from your hand shaking while taking pictures, take the filter off. Also, if you want more DoF, take the filter off or use a less darker one.
Like any tool in your toolbox, they're best when used wisely and judiciously.

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