Australian seascape and landscape photography

Daytime experiments with the ND400 filter.

The following long exposures were taken during daylight hours using an ND400 and ND8 filter stacked together on the front of my Sigma 10-20mm lens. The combination of these two filters attenuates so much light that peering into the viewfinder reveals an inky blackness even during bright daylight conditions.
It’s therefore necessary to compose the image BEFORE screwing the filters onto the lens. It’s also necessary to adjust the focus manually since the auto-focus system has no chance of working under such conditions.

*** (Update October 2012) The introduction of “live view” to many DSLR cameras means that is’s no longer necessary to compose and pre-focus with the dark filters off the lens. I shoot all the time now using live view to peer through the combined darkness of an ND400 and ND8. The filters now stay on the lens which means there is a lot less fiddling around. If you’re looking for a guide to show you how to use an ND400 have a look at my recent blog post here.***

I found that if I set the ISO as low as possible, and set the aperture very small (i.e. a high number), then it was possible to obtain a shutter duration of about 3 minutes. Such long exposures during daytime create some interesting images. I’m looking forward to experimenting more with the ND400.


Dancing with Scissors in My Mouth

Lapping at Tight Spaces

Down by Mother’s Trough

Planet Number Three

4 responses

  1. Stephen Issell

    Hi Jim, I bought a cheap ( Chinese ) Cokin P series holder along with some ND’s from Ebay.
    If you like a nice purple cast to your images then great, but I was not impressed.
    I suppose I am saying that cheap can be real cheap at times but a long way from the desired affect. Converting to B&W helps over come some of these short comings.

    It was this blog entry that got me to thinking about the use of ND’s.
    Keep up the good work.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    • Hi Stephen,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the blog post. On the subject of colour casts, I have 2 Hoya ND400 filters, one has no colour cast and the other has a noticeable purple tinge.
      I’m not sure what happened with their quality control there!
      Luckily it’s fairly easy to correct the slight colour cast in either DPP or photoshop.

      Cheers, Jim.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:40 pm

  2. Des Farrell

    Very interesting post

    December 15, 2012 at 9:49 am

  3. ikenuma

    Fascinating read. I have wanted to recreate some of the long exposure photography I loved doing during the latter part of the last century! Since going digital of course all this drastically changed. I have not invested in a DSLR preferring the lighter and easy compact type (Leica V-Lux 2) which is great for travelling. I know nothing of Live View and wonder if the expenditure will be worth while and even workable. As I live near to lakes and streams in mountains the long exposure abstract and ‘art’ aspect is sorely missed.
    Best wishes

    September 18, 2017 at 9:42 pm

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