Monday, 22 February 2010

Deeper into exposure

This blog continues to move further into one more focused on photography than the outdoors (who likes to stay in their box anyways?), but I haven't forgotten my roots and there is potential for a couple days away either this week or the next which will hopefully materialise into something.

Instead of a couple nights in the hills I've had to settle with a couple days orienteering here and there, my continued running schedule (which continues to lose out to socialising) and my photography.

So to the photography.

After reading a thread on talk photography about using welding glass stuck on the front of your lens as a 10 stop ND filter, and seeing some of the results, I couldn't not give it a go. Both the "welding shade" and the Kood (Cokin P Fit) filter adapter (to which you add the welding glass) can be picked up from your favourite auction site for a couple of pounds each.

The welding shade is a dark, black looking piece of glass, as one might expect, and casts a green tint across any resulting images. Although you can fix this green tint by adjusting the white balance in Photoshop or whatever processing software you're running, it's obviously best to try and sort it as much in camera if possible. For me this involved using the Olympus "One touch" custom white balance, which took rather more than one try to get to work, but was relatively painless. From what I've read on the thread other camera users should have a similar ability to set a custom white balance, as is shown in this image created by Sean Taylor.

I attached the shade to the filter adapter with some blue-tac and put some insulating tape around the edges as they were a bit sharp and then went off to see the results of adding five pounds worth of glass and aluminium to my camera.

60 seconds F/3.5

120 seconds F/4.7

They're hardly the most inspiring photo's but give an insight into what is possible with a bit of patience and some cheap welding glass, five pounds all in isn't too bad for a bit of fun.

Composing the picture, adding the filter, taking the image and then waiting for the noise reduction to complete all adds up to make quite a time consuming process, but one which definitely looks worth pursuing.

I think the waterfalls might be getting another visit soon.

7 comment(s) so far, add your thoughts -->>here<<--:

kate said...

i'm enjoying the change of direction. look forward to seeing more of your work :)

Keith said...

Cheers Kate, there's plenty more on its way :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like we share similar interests. I've also recently started experimenting with this technique. You can see one result here. I find I need to add my polarizer between the lens and ND filter; it's so glossy/reflective that if I don't, the reflection of my lens can be seen in the exposure.

Keith said...

Looks like it Fraser! Although your example is far better executed.

That's interesting about adding the polariser. I've had a couple streaks across the photo on some of the longer exposures (6 minutes) but have attributed it to light leaking in from the viewfinder, which someone else had identified as an issue. A bit more experimentation will have to take place!

Hiking said...

Great pictures!

JimmyTH said...

I looked through several of your posts and couldn't find what sort of camera you're using. I started as a military photographer/journalist in Vietnam, just as the 35mm cameras came out, and I think the picture quality of the old 35's was much better than the usual digital counterpart today. Bag of filters and lenses and confusing assortments of film came along with that, of course. Last good camera I bought disappointed me terribly, a 35mm which turned out to have a plastic lens, not glass. So many ways to go wrong, and many don't even notice the drop in quality. Good pics, though. No orbs.

Keith said...

Cheers Hiking =)

Hi Jimmy
I'm using a Olympus E-420, chosen in some ways for its small volume and weight, but also for its low price and image quality. Pretty good little camera, and more than exceeds my needs. Regards Keith