Here’s a shot from Nine Mile Pond in the Everglades. It’s a beautiful place to watch the sunrise – but on this morning, I wasn’t getting any good photos. Although the sunrise was pretty, it wasn’t very photogenic – and the water was a bit choppy. A couple of test shots failed to get me excited.
I wanted to transform the scene. So I pulled out my neutral density filter. The idea was to block some of the light coming into the lens with a grey filter – that would mean I could use a much longer shutter speed. The effect was exactly what I wanted. A 25-second shutter speed (f/8) blurred out the waves, giving the water a smooth, calm surface. The slowly moving clouds blurred just a bit – which left the sky looking dreamy. Most importantly, the reflected light on the water scattered with each wave, producing an opalescent glow.
Simple, in-camera techniques like this one can turn an ordinary scene into something just beyond the usual. Have you used a neutral density filter for a similar effect?