ND Neutral Density Filter help please!!

MommyOf4Boys

TPF Noob!
Joined
Dec 20, 2005
Messages
2,386
Reaction score
51
Location
Alabama - just moved here from Texas
I guess I am doing something wrong! I have seen so many gorgeous photos done with the ND filters. I have the 4x (2 stops) and the 8x (3 stops) filters. I do not know if I am just metering wrong or if I am suppose to take two shots and combine them, which I really do not want to do.
When I metered the shot, I metered off of the middle tone in the sky and it made the sky come out gorgeous, but the ground areas were extremely dark! When I metered off of the middle tone on the ground the ground really made no change, but the sky was really blown out. I am wanting to use these filters when I go to the beach to get great shots of the sunset as well as a smooth/silky beach.
If anyone can please point out what I am doing wrong I would soooo much appreciate it!!
 

DepthAfield

TPF Noob!
Joined
Feb 24, 2006
Messages
566
Reaction score
0
Location
Itchycoo Park
Perhaps the effect you are looking for would be best attained by using a split neutral density filter, which will stop down the sky while leaving the foreground normal.

As for sunset/sunrises, give this a try:
With your camera securely mounted on a tripod, compose your photograph.
Pan the camera left or right far enough to remove the sun from the viewfinder..
Meter and set your exposure.
Pan back to the original composition and take your photo.
You may want to bracket 1 stop in both directions. This method of metering sunset/sunrises has almost always provided me with a good exposure.
 

Xmetal

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Nov 22, 2004
Messages
2,351
Reaction score
29
Location
Newcastle, Australia
Website
photobucket.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
You have 2 options with your dilemma:

1/2 ND filter - Old school way of doing it because it was created mainly for Film cameras, the idea being so you don't have to do 2 exposures and splice them in the Darkroom. :???: (dunno if that's what they do but you get the idea)

HDR - New school way of evening out the exposures if you're shooting digital, involves exposure bracketing and shooting upto 8 or 9 of the same image then layering them all together in Photoshop or equivelent program. :)

I started a HDR thread Here, Digital Matt and Archangel are your gurus in that field. :)
 

Arch

Damn You!
Joined
Jan 21, 2006
Messages
8,487
Reaction score
102
Location
locked in the attic
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
mommy..... the way i do it is, to either merge two shots....... merge the same shot processed differently - for sky and forground or...... (and this one may be useful seeing as tho you dont want to have to merge).... I simply expose mainly for the sky.....(shot in RAW) but dont let the forground go TOO dark.... so midpoint sky...... then when you bring it into ps, use the shadow/highlight command.
Between the RAW conversion and the shadow/highlight, you should be able to get a decent exposure from the one shot.

If not..... a slight variation, (and this is easier than using two exposures too)... is to immediately duplicate your layer when first in ps....... then use shadow/high on one layer for the sky...... and for the forground on the other, then layer mask the sky off to the one underneath........ its just quicker than importing two seperate exposures. ;)

OR...... try an ND grad filter :)
 

Philip Weir

TPF Noob!
Joined
Apr 29, 2006
Messages
506
Reaction score
0
Location
Sydney, Australia. The land of peace and sunshine.
Website
www.philipweirphotography.com
Basically a ND [Neutral density] filter has the same affect, density wise, as stopping down the lens. It is simply a grey [gray] filter. If you shot the subject you spoke about without a ND filter, you would have exactly the same problem. A split screen ND may be the way to go, so you are averaging out your densities, high and low. They are used for instance shooting a moving water scene, where you want to use a certain aperture, but the shutter speed would then be too fast to capture the movement of the water, hence the use of the filter enables you to use a slower shutter speed. "DepthAfield" is on the right track.

www.philipweirphotography.com
 
OP
MommyOf4Boys

MommyOf4Boys

TPF Noob!
Joined
Dec 20, 2005
Messages
2,386
Reaction score
51
Location
Alabama - just moved here from Texas
thanks guys. I think I actually have it figured out now too!! Stacking more than one ND filter helped a TON and by metering in manual mode instead of Aperture priority helped majorly as well!
 

ksmattfish

Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still
Joined
Aug 25, 2003
Messages
7,019
Reaction score
36
Location
Lawrence, KS
Website
www.henrypeach.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
MommyOf4Boys said:
thanks guys. I think I actually have it figured out now too!! Stacking more than one ND filter helped a TON and by metering in manual mode instead of Aperture priority helped majorly as well!

But neither of these addresses your initial problem which is too much contrast in the lighting, and not enough dynamic range ability in the camera. Correct exposure for the ground, and correct exposure for the sky are just too far apart for current digital cameras (and most film too). You either have to lower the exposure of the sky, or increase the exposure of the ground. Stacking ND filters reduces the light reaching the sensor everywhere in the image.

To get the correct exposure in a single shot you'll need a split ND to reduce the brightness of the sky, or use a flash to lighten the foreground.
 

Most reactions

New Topics

Top