Posts Tagged ‘10 stop neutral density filter’


April 5, 2012 2 comments


This vista could be anywhere. There are no telling signs of what country it is in, never mind what city. This shot is taken from the beach at Colwyn Bay, North Wales near the pier.

Using the 10 stop filter during the mid morning light I manage to create some fantastic movement in the clouds as well as the milky flows effect in the water. I think you are beginning to get the feeling by now that this is completely my favourite type of subject at the moment. My favourite to photograph that is. I appreciate lots of other genres such as rugged portraiture, soft focus floral, tac sharp macro and abstract.

I love the simple nature of this image. It almost breaks a few ‘rules’ too such as having the horizon in the middle rather than on a third and the lead in line of rocks doesn’t actually lead into anything solid, just the water. I think it just works.

What do you think?


Kit used:-

  • Canon 40D
  • Sigma 10-20mm wide angle
  • Tripod
  • B+W 10 stop filter

Derelict Beauty

February 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Derelict Beauty


I frequent The Peak District a few times throughout the year. In particular I love to photograph the rocks and surrounding atmosphere at Roach End. The Roaches is a ridge on a hill consisting of cliff face and large boulders – a lot of fun to manoeuvre when out running, but that’s another hobby. The area is so peaceful and quiet, except for the sound of the grouse fluttering by every now and then. Well worth a visit.


The setup

This old disused barn has been on my agenda for quite some time now and I have avoided it’s temptation on each visit because of its obvious lure to other photographers. That’s the trouble with photography – i always think someone else will have already photographed it. My challenge is to capture this barn from a different angle with some beautiful lighting.


I tend to find this location has more to offer for sunset than sunrise due to the positioning of the sun throughout the year combined with the direction I like to shoot the area from.


Running with the idea I need to shoot from a unique angle, I climb over a barbed wire fence, hobble over the mossy banks of hidden boulders and eventually position myself low down in the most uncomfortable position. This should do it!


I like to use my wide angle lens from low down positions usually to capture the foreground elements and give scale to the image. This time, all foreground elements were just moss and reeds. There is a boulder protruding from the undergrowth in the middle distance though. This will be my foreground interest and will require a higher viewpoint.


The shoot

10 stop filter is required again to capture the movement of the clouds and give this shot that little something extra. I have to be quick though because the sun is about to set and would be too low to light up the barn. I’m borrowing a fellow photographer’s Lee Big Stopper to test out the difference it makes against the B+W screw in filter. Wow! This is much easier! I have to get myself one of these!



Some minor adjustments such as levels and curves and a little bit of dust bunny bashing before I can sharpen and save this beauty. I love it when all the elements come together at the same time.


Lee Big Stopper ordered. 8 months later it arrives. I can’t wait to get out and play!


Castle Rock

February 24, 2012 1 comment



Castle Rock

Another view of Dunstanburgh Castle whilst on a holiday in Northumberland. This is photographed on the same night as my sunset shot. Well before the sun decided to appeared I worked on trying to achieve a real moody black and white image.


The setup

This castle has been photographed many times. Some would say you only have to look for the tripod holes in the rocks to find the effect spot from which to shoot it. I don’t care. I always have to go out and give my own take on subjects for myself. I decide to go for a long exposure because there is enough detail in the sky to be able to capture the movement of the clouds. The trusty 10 stop filter is required for this job. An exposure of a good few minutes can be achieved at this time of evening when adding this filter.


The shoot

Tripod all set up low down, wide angle lens attached I focus on the big rock just in front of me. Aperture set to give sufficient depth of field I meter the exposure and calculate what that should be if the scene were 10 stops darker. Being careful not to knock the setup I screw on the B+W 10 stop filter. Set the camera to bulb mode and press the shutter release cable.


It is always a tense moment waiting for the time to elapse and the image to appear on the rear of the camera. I don’t want to get this wrong and have to repeat the process so I always check and recheck my settings for this kind of shot. Some exposures can go into their minutes so each take is precious – even in this digital age.



Conversion to black and white is necessary when shooting RAW. Curves and levels adjustments made then sharpened to finish off. Sweet!



Sunset at Dunstanburgh Castle

February 23, 2012 Leave a comment



A UK holiday to Northumberland is a great decision for any landscape photographer. The scenery is beautiful and there are castles galore.


The setup

Everyone needs a bit of luck. I am concentrating on trying to capture the remains of this castle with the wet black rocks below. I know how the image is going to look before I even set up the tripod. It has been a grey day all day – a grey day to a photographer is a black & white day. I’m set up, I get my shot within minutes and am walking back to base when the clouds suddenly start to part. The sun sneaks through a gap and lights up the clouds from underneath. Beautiful. I look back at the castle and the warm glow from the sun is striking the great wall of rock before me.


The shoot

It’s a race to get the kit out – tripod legs back into the ground and 10-stop filter screwed onto the front of the lens. Wow! This picture is too good not to capture. The colours are so rich and unbelievable I’m panicking I’ll miss it. Click, wait for the calculated 4 minute exposure…come on, come on…. Got it. Phew!

I stand there in admiration for the scene before me. The moment only lasts one more minute or so more and the sun dips below the horizon behind me. I can’t wait to get back to our rented cottage to view the results.



I’ve spent a whole week here waiting for a decent sunset to capture and finally I have it. Some minor adjustments needed to correct the “too warm” colour cast produced from the 10-stop filter and some sharpening to bring out more of the detail.



Tripod, wide-angle lens, 10-stop filter, good walking boots and some luck.


Sticks and Stones

February 21, 2012 Leave a comment


Shot at Llandulas beach, north Wales. It’s the “almost” uniform recession of the groynes as well as the detail in the foreground that makes this picture for me.

The setup

Foreground is so important when shooting landscapes. It gives a sense of scale as well as depth to a picture. It brings the sole shot together. Foreground interest gives the viewer a starting point for their journey through the image. Tripod is a must for this shot – a long exposure of 100 seconds requires complete stillness, which is difficult when you are freezing your assets off on a windy beach.

The shoot

The trusty wide-angle lens is out again. I get really low down to the ground, and in close to the rocks to exaggerate their size. I know the shot I want in my head. I want milky water, almost fog-like, frothing over the rocks and a calm tranquil sea for the groynes to descend into. For this I need a Neutral Density filter capable of stopping down the light for a good few seconds. It can only mean one thing… This is a job for the 10 -stop filter!

I arrange the kit, making sure the camera is focused on the right spot to ensure the whole image is sharp. Using the camera’s exposure meter I now calculate how long I would need to leave the shutter open for based on its current reading. Being careful not to move the setup, I now attach the 10-stop filter. With bulb mode applied, I now dial in the aperture (f/22) and press the shutter-release cable button and wait. This is the hard part – waiting for time to pass, concentrating on not disturbing any rocks underfoot otherwise the whole setup will have to be restarted. 100 seconds later – click. That’s it, done. I view the camera’s preview image and histogram to make sure the calculated exposure time was accurate. Got it.


Being next to the sea it is inevitable that the filter will catch some of the spray from the water, especially on a windy day, so a few minutes viewing the shot at 100% is necessary to make sure I clear up the dust-bunnies using Photoshop’s spot-healing brush. Some levels adjustments and sharpening and I’m happy.


Neutral Density Filters

February 10, 2012 1 comment


These are a landscape photographer’s best friend. Being able to control natural daylight to create the image you want is a wonderful thing.

One of my favourite bits of kit is the B+W 10 stop ND filter. This has helped me to create some stunning, prize winning images. However, I have adopted the Lee Filter system as my process for taking most of my landscape shots and the B+W Filter no longer fits into this family.

The Lee system consists of a holder to accommodate multiple rectangular and square slot in filters and the B+W filter is a screw in filter. With the 10-Stop filter being so dark, by the time you have screwed it onto the front you can no longer see anything through the viewfinder. So if you need to make any adjustments you have to take everything off again.

Lee now make a 10 stop slot-in square filter for the system I use which makes things a whole lot easier. However, their back order is so long I have been waiting since June 6th 2011 for mine to arrive. Finally it arrived with Monday morning’s post! Yay!

So, if anyone requires a fantastic quality 10 stop Neutral Density filter with a 77mm thread I am selling mine on eBay here. I look after all my kit so you will find it in mint condition.

Knock Out Wonderboy!

November 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Knockout competitions seem to be becoming somewhat of a speciality for me!

At the end of each season at camera club we have a knockout competition whereby each member is allowed to enter up to 6 images to be projected digitally. The images are all entered into a piece of software on the computer and randomised. The images will then appear in a random order to be voted against the image next to it. Members vote for the image out of the two they like the best and it goes through to the next round, knocking the losing image out.

Long story short, I won! Here is the winning image…

I call it “Sticks and Stones”