Filters are used in photography to achieve a desired effect. Effects are what I call drama and a photo without drama is just a snapshot and snapshots are photos taken without any effort.
Now what makes drama in nature and landscape photography? You are gonna learn today…are you ready for the answer? It’s LONG EXPOSURE! Say you are in Zion National Park, a big hill to your left, a huge mountain to your right, pretty clouds above and a waterfall below. A typical photographer will just compose, meter and take a snapshot, done! How about I will slow my shutter to capture the water motion below and at the same time capture the moving clouds above?
To slow your shutter you are gonna have to use a small aperture when you meter the scene. For example, in the photo above I metered at 1/40th of a second using F/22. Since there are no clouds I would want to create drama below and 1/40th of a second cannot cut it, but what if I put a 10-stop ND filter that would make my shutter speed 25 seconds enough to have a smooth effect in the water. 9 vertical shots panorama at 25 seconds each frame!
PS. I used the app NDTimer to calculate final shutter speed when using an ND filter. There is a table for this you can find in Google search but who wants that when you can get it as an app.
Please don’t call yourself a landscape photographer if you don’t have a tripod because you need it in long shutters.
I have been working for 3 nights near Albany, New York and last night after my work at 12:30 AM it was time to go home to Philly. I had already plans of dropping by Brooklyn to photograph the iconic bridge at dawn and then wait for sunrise to photograph it again.
I arrived at Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1 at almost 4 A.M. and went to set up my tripod, did my composition and metered the scene. All shot in manual, I set my shutter at 30 seconds and adjusted aperture from there to F/11. 30 seconds is to really capture the lights from the buildings and the reflections. My ISO was 100 and focal length was 24mm (35mm in full frame). My lens is a prime lens so I had to deal with just that 24mm when composing. Set up my 10 verticals shots covering the Lower Manhattan skyscrapers and the bridge itself. No test shots! The first shot was the test shot actually. If you have been doing something for too long it becomes second nature.
The bridge is still under repair, but it was worse when I was there months ago. I got the view all by myself with nobody there at 4 A.M. and in freezing cold. I was able able to park right at the street near the bridge. Awesome feeling! I just got my fix. I can never get tired of Brooklyn bridge.
That’s about it! Just this one shot and I drove home to beat the traffic and to make my reports and nope I didn’t wait for the sunrise but I’ll be back.
Hope you like it! Any questions?
The One World Trade Center is the tallest building in Manhattan and could be the tallest in the US against Willis Tower in Chicago. We are going to know pretty soon as an organization of Architects are debating on that right now.
I got intrigued when heard it in the news and decided to visit New York to take photos. I planned this using Google Earth checking the location of 1WTC and where to possibly position my tripod. By looking at satellite pictures near Hudson river in Jersey City I could use these boats or these docks whatever they call them as my foreground. And as usual I checked the time and direction of the sunset.
I wanted drama so… I set my shutter at 30 seconds and adjusted the aperture from there, thank goodness it’s within my range of F/8-F/16. ISO is always 100, no need to change it. Also set my WB at daylight to make it warm a little bit. Everything is shot in manual!
Used Adobe Photoshop to stitch the vertical frames and post process them in Adobe Lightroom 4.
Hope you like it. Enjoy!
I have been to this place like 4 times already. But during those times I was not into stitch panorama. I said, I needed to come back and shoot this place panorama style. I already have the composition in mind and where to put my tripod to really capture all the cascades.
According to foliage network the colors are past peak in the area but whatever I still drove there. The height of my tripod was probably just 2 feet. I wanted to capture all the foreground cascades and water motion. The plan was just 1 row stitch pano but ended with 2 rows 13 vertical stitch panorama. That is 26 shots! In the second row, I tilted my camera down a few degrees to get more foreground. When I tilted my camera up, there was nothing there except trees with no leaves.
Shot in Lock 12, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I chose 1/2 second shutter speed, ISO 100 and from there adjusted the aperture to F/14 when I metered the scene. When shooting waterfalls use the Shutter Priority principle. That’s pretty much it! No filters used. The sky was overcast which was ideal for shooting waterfalls.
Hope you like it!
Valley Forge in Pennsylvania was the site of the military camp of the American Continental Army over the winter of 1777–1778 during the American Revolutionary War. It is approximately 20 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
This is inside one of the shacks where soldiers stayed at during grueling winter training. I was just gonna take a photo of this shack with the sunset and foliage in the background but it was not that good. So I went to the doorstep and took a 180 degree pano of what’s inside this shack. But before that, I had to whisper to the dead that I was just going to take a photo and I am not disrespecting them.
Hope you like it!
Let’s be honest, landscape photography is all about the location. I can shoot in Arches National Park or Zion National Park up side down and I would still create photographs that people will like to see. Like my blog about the Brooklyn Bridge, that is the blog with the most visits, it’s because of the location. It’s because of people who have been there before but unable to take better photos or people that are planning to visit the place.
It’s just funny I may mention about this blog I read about “how to shoot better photos in bad weather”. And then all 10 examples of his photos are from Iceland…LOL really?
Like the photo above no one will care about it except for nature photographers. By the way I’d like to share that I tested this awesome lens that I bought yesterday the Rokinon 24mm/ F1.4. Cheap lens less that a 3rd of the price of it’s Nikon or Canon equivalent. Everything is manual. Anyway, I don’t need auto focus in landscape photography, specially stitched panorama! At f/4 and above everything is sharp at infinity.
I’ve been in Camden New Jersey a couple of times in the past where this photo was taken. This is the best view of Philadelphia skyline so far. When I composed this shot with panorama in mind I had the problem of what my foreground was gonna be. So I just used this railings! If there were boats or rocks or waves I could have used those, LOL.
The problem of this location is that, it’s not safe at night, Camden! Night shots would be awesome. I tried to stay a little longer but some guys were asking for 50 cents! I was outta there!
Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the second largest city on the East Coast of the United States, and the fifth-most-populous city in the United States.
Hope you like it!