Photography and photojournalism in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest

Light and movement

It never takes long for the weather to change in Oregon. In the photo above, I returned to a spot that was nearly underwater in January. Now in March, however, the water flow has lessened and provides some really fascinating color and movement when long exposures of one second or more are taken.

The photo above is a four-second exposure taken at f.11 and ISO 100. The trick to this is a variable neutral density filter, which restricts the amount of light entering the lens without altering its color.

ND filters come in many strengths and are offered in several different forms, including variable, which rotates and functions much like a circular polarizer.

The most common is the fixed ND filter, while the graduated ND filter allows the photographer to split an image into two distinct areas, one filtered, the other unfiltered. The latter is usually used when you have a sharp delineation between areas with strong highlights and shadows, as commonly found with sunset photos with a horizon and foreground.

The shot above and the image at right were both taken during the middle of the day under shelter of overhead tree branches. The effect is otherworldly. As one friend put it, it’s like Middle Earth as envisaged by J.R.R. Tolkien.


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