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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Shutter speeds and sunlight...I have been trying to take a raging stream today, after one hell of a storm,i wanted the milky effect, ...
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Old 11-05-2008, 18:26   #1 (permalink)
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Shutter speeds and sunlight

I have been trying to take a raging stream today, after one hell of a storm,i wanted the milky effect, but it was bright and sunny and i couldn't get a slow shutter speed, is it me or can it be done, i first tried in TV mode then Manuali nearly threw the cameras in the stream in frustrationthank's...Ray
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Old 11-05-2008, 18:33   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

Neutral density filter will do the trick. You can get 2x or 4x commonly which will cover most situations.

Did you try reducing the ISO?
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Old 11-05-2008, 18:37   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

To get the flowing water effect, you need to set a long shutter speed and possibly a small aperture as well e.g. f/16 and 1/5 second at ISO 100.

The problem you're facing is that, when the shutter is open for such a long time in bright sunlight, you end up with vastly overexposed shots - since there's so much light flooding the sensor.

Your solution is to use a neutral density filter to block out more of the light that would otherwise register on your camera. Think of this kind of filter as sunglasses for your lens. ND filters are graded by stops i.e. one stop, two stops, three stops etc.

For more info, see the Wikipedia article here
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Old 11-05-2008, 18:41   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

Thanks guy's i had a set of nds with me grr i thought they were for stopping the sky blowing never mind i will get the situation again and i will know
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Old 11-05-2008, 19:37   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

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Thanks guy's i had a set of nds with me grr i thought they were for stopping the sky blowing never mind i will get the situation again and i will know
Ray - you are not wrong there - but the ones for stopping the sky from blowing are graduated ND's.

The ones we are talking about are not graduated, they are the same all over.
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Old 11-05-2008, 19:42   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

I've not done any milky water shots so forgive me for butting into the thread, could Ray's situation have been solved by a CP if nd grads are not available or would you still not get a slow enough ss ?
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Old 11-05-2008, 19:48   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

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I've not done any milky water shots so forgive me for butting into the thread, could Ray's situation have been solved by a CP if nd grads are not available or would you still not get a slow enough ss ?
Ive done it in woods ie Ingleton falls no problem but full on daylight i got this problem
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Old 11-05-2008, 19:48   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

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Originally Posted by Dabhand16 View Post
Ray - you are not wrong there - but the ones for stopping the sky from blowing are graduated ND's.

The ones we are talking about are not graduated, they are the same all over.
So what do i ask for graham i will get some tomorrow
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Old 11-05-2008, 19:50   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

I think a CP might have limited effectiveness in this situation if the angle of the sun was in the optimum alignment, but not as good as an ND.

It also depends on the composition of the subject too.
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Old 11-05-2008, 19:55   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

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Originally Posted by Dabhand16 View Post
Ray - you are not wrong there - but the ones for stopping the sky from blowing are graduated ND's.

The ones we are talking about are not graduated, they are the same all over.
i will get some tomorrow graham what do i ask for
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Old 11-05-2008, 20:04   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

Just ND filters Ray. You might be able to buy a set of 2x, 3x and 4x, and get a better price. You can use them in combination if necessary, but if you get the above strengths. you would probably be able to cover any situation with just one, which is better than combining them - fewer things between your lens and the subject.
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Old 11-05-2008, 20:30   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

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Originally Posted by Dabhand16 View Post
Just ND filters Ray. You might be able to buy a set of 2x, 3x and 4x, and get a better price. You can use them in combination if necessary, but if you get the above strengths. you would probably be able to cover any situation with just one, which is better than combining them - fewer things between your lens and the subject.
Ok thanks graham will do...Ray
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Old 11-05-2008, 20:53   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

I got a nd8 filter. Stupid, cause you only use them when it is very bright ie sunshine on snowy mountain. Anyway, i've tried mine today and i could see that i definitely needed a 2 or a 4. Too much shadows and dark bits on my photo's. But hey we'll learn one day
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:51   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

Not sure from reading your original post whether or not you set you lens to the highest numbered F stop on your camera/lens (eg F22 F32). As previously mentioned also use the lowest ISO you can get.

I've also found you can substitute a polariser filter in place of an ND if you've forgotten to bring it along, that will also gain you a couple of F stops. To achieve the blurred water effect you want the longest shutter speed possible, so if shooting raw you may also get away with a small amount of exposure compensation too.
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Old 12-05-2008, 13:09   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

Another option I use is a linear polariser stacked on a circular polariser. It's gives a poor mans Singh-Ray and produces a variable ND (not to be confused with a graduated ND)

With this I can get up to about 2-5 seconds exposure on very bright midday sunshine. You can do much longer, i.e. 10 - 20s, but a very strong blue colour cast is evident when you push it too far.
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Old 12-05-2008, 22:05   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

Good idea OP. I wondered if you'd get any blotchiness doing that - is that why you use a linear and circular together?
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Old 12-05-2008, 22:30   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

dunno what what you mean by blotchiness...

recall that a cp is just a lp with a quarter wave plate added (it de-polarizes the light - that's a bit simplistic but it'll do for this explanation). As long as the cp is closest to the lens then there won't be any issues with metering/af.

We all remember from high-school physics class what happens when you rotate 2 polarizers against each other - they go opaque. Well stacking the lp on cp does exactly this but adds in the quarter wave plate to allow your camera to meter/focus.
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Old 12-05-2008, 23:44   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

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dunno what what you mean by blotchiness...
In the very dim and extremely distant past, I tried this with a couple of linear polarisers on a film camera, and got some light and dark shading - like looking through an old toughened windscreen with Polaroid sunglasses - which I put down to interference patterns, but they could have been rubbish filters.
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Old 13-05-2008, 00:25   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

that's a glass thing no? not likely to be an issue when making milky waters.

All my pols do that when i point them at me (glass) coffee table. Good uns, **** uns, circs and lins.
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Old 13-05-2008, 00:51   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

I take waterfalls and often slow the shutter speed down using only the 2 stops a CP gives you as I don't own any grads (obviously turned to ensure you do get the reflections - i.e. not cutting down the polarised light)

Full sunlight (tho late afternoon) using only a CP


Mid morning, overcast, CP
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Old 13-05-2008, 09:24   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

I think the answer is to avoid taking such shots in full sunlight. With water reflecting white and probably deep shadow areas on the bank you will have difficulty coping with the range. It would be better to try for a bright but overcast day and you can then probably get away without the ND filters as well.

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Old 13-05-2008, 19:39   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

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Originally Posted by orangepeel View Post
Another option I use is a linear polariser stacked on a circular polariser. It's gives a poor mans Singh-Ray and produces a variable ND (not to be confused with a graduated ND)

With this I can get up to about 2-5 seconds exposure on very bright midday sunshine. You can do much longer, i.e. 10 - 20s, but a very strong blue colour cast is evident when you push it too far.
Very cool idea! Just a question though - have you noticed any softness to your images using this method? I'm just wondering due to the introduction of more glass-air surfaces?
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Old 13-05-2008, 21:17   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Shutter speeds and sunlight

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Very cool idea! Just a question though - have you noticed any softness to your images using this method? I'm just wondering due to the introduction of more glass-air surfaces?
There probably is but not so much that I've noticed.

TBH I've not used them an very much. I only have 52mm pols and the lens they fit on is pretty useless.
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