Fun with filters

To get that ‘silky’ effect on flowing water, or for that matter, clouds or anything that’s moving, you need to leave your shutter open for a much longer period than normal. This of course requires a tripod for a stable base for your camera. Now, since most of these images are taken during the day, you may well ask yourself, “Self, how do I do this without blowing the image completely out?”

That’s an excellent question. What we are told is that we need a very dark (several stops) of neutral density filter. This will work also, but what I use is a Vari-N-Duo Neutral Density filter from Singh-Ray. No this is not a plug, but I do love their filters. They aren’t cheap, but the highest quality of anything rarely is. This filter allows you to dial in the strength of density (it’s cool to watch it get darker, until opaque when you turn the ring!) as well as giving you a polarizing filter to reduce glare from the water. They also now have a Vari-N-Trio, which adds a color enhancing filter. I haven’t as yet had a chance to evaluate this filter, so I can’t speak for that claim, but what I CAN speak for is that I have several of their filters and they all work as advertised. I have no reason to doubt them on this one. Click this link for more information at Singh-Ray’s website. Don’t have a heart attack when you see the price, however let me remind you, that will be the last time you’ll need to buy one unless you lose or break the one you bought.

As a budget alternative, I have read that you can use a stack of two polarizers, a linear and a circular polarizer and get the same effect. If anyone out there who may be reading this has experience with that alternative, I’d love to hear about it.

This is the North Falls, at Silver Falls State Park in Oregon, a very beautiful park with loads of water and water falls and huge trees. I highly recommend you visit if you get the chance. Oh yes, bring your camera.