neutral density filters – long exposure during daylight

Neutral Density Filters

long exposure though the day

Neutral density filters have are dark sheets of glass or plastic which will decrease the level of light getting into the camera. Exactly like sunglasses, the amount of light is reduced and it enables you to use longer exposures for nice motion blur effects. ND filters are coming in various grades from lighter to darker and depending on that, they can reduce the camera settings from one stop to several. The whole idea is to be able to have long time exposures in pure light and that will free you to get nice effects during day time. If you have ever asked yourself how to photograph a waterfall and have the nice motion blur effect, than ND filters are the answer

ND filters can be solid colours or gradient. For the solid ND filters they can come in increments which decrease the F stops for a proper exposure. As an example I have a set of solid ND filters which will reduce the light in 2 stops, 4 stops and 8 stops. Suing them in the same time will be very effective to decrease even more the amount of light. For a very bright day, ND8 might not be enough to allow you to use long exposures over 1 second.

ND filters can come also graduated from full transparency to a ND 8 value.



Graduated ND filters can be used to have the nice effect of a darker sky on top. The same thing can be achieved in post production very easy applying a darker gradient to the image, but many people are reluctant to use any software for this purpose. That is why graduated ND filters can come handy.

On this occasion I wanted to show you few examples I took, to show you how easy is to create the motion blur during the day. Having a set of ND filters will  enable you to get nice foggy effect of the falling water or breaking waves without depending on the time of the day, You can do it at any time you want and you do not need to be a sunrise or sunset only.

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Gradual Density Filters example

No filter

neutral density filters

Gradual 4 ND filter

neutral density filters

Gradual 8 ND filter

neutral density filters




About Christian Tudor

professional photographer, main editor at Academy of Photography and owner and principal photographer of Tudor Photography