A Child on the Beach

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This topic contains 23 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Federico Alegria 2 weeks, 5 days ago.

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  • #408230

    3pco
    Participant

    I have a new toy, a variable 6-stop ND filter, so I went out to play with it on an overcast beach morning. It was useful in that you could see your shot thru the viewfinder by dialing it down, then just rotate the filter to get as many stops density as you want. The 6 stops got me to 1-2 seconds at f/22 and iso 100, which I think is sort of marginal. My camera goes to iso 50 I think, but I hear that is noisy. Does anyone know? I don't know how the variable density thingie works, actually, but I got strange shadows at some settings. How do people feel about stacking nd filters?

    Anyway this was 1/4 sec at f/16 iso 100 and I think nd 6 but you cannot be sure.

  • #408340

    Maureen Photograph
    Participant

    3pco — I like the long exposure effect.

    As cc, I find the image too lacking in contrast for my taste, but maybe that's the effect you sought.  I added a Curves adjustment, and also lightened the figure and surrounding area to draw more attention to it and make it look like the light from the brighter part of sky was falling there.

    Maureen

  • #408342

    Graham Hart
    Participant

    The pic looks fine to me 3pco with a nice soft effect. Some PP would lift the light and contrast a little. I'm only just beginning to explore the ND filter world myself so I am probably wrong on all counts but I'm thinking that f22 is a very small aperture for use with an ND filter? Maybe its different with a variable filter, I'm not sure.

    I'm led to believe that in any low light photography (and it doesn't get much lower than with an ND filter), the widest aperture possible is desired to allow the maximum amount of light through the filter. Not sure what this means in terms of DOF when using ND filters though? Similarly, ISO should be set to the lowest available but yours is already at 100 so all good there.

    Don't know about the strange shadows unless they're aberrations from using f22 or perhaps from the variable nature of the filter? Others here will know all about this stuff I'm sure.

    Stacking ND filters is suggested in many articles I have read and is a way to accurately dial in the exact number of stops you desire if you don't have a single filter to do the job alone.

    • #408453

      Federico Alegria
      Participant

      It all depends on what are you trying to acheive Graham. Sometimes you'll want to have a wide aperture that wouldn't be possible to use without an ND filter, street photography is a great example.

  • #408344

    Bruce Gordon
    Participant

    I, too am experimenting with ND. As far as stacking filters, the screw-on type will show up in frame at wider focal lengths. I switched to the external mount type and it works much better,

  • #408406

    Rob Eyers
    Participant

    Using ND's opens up a whole new world 3pco. I too bought a variable ND first thinking that it would be a single purchase for many solutions. I have to say it was a fail. There were always weird colour shifts and darkening around the edges and of course I had no idea what stop I was at. After very few outings with it I binned it.(well it's in a drawer…never to be used again).

    After some research I settled on Breakthrough Photography ND's. One – 3 stop and 1 – 6 stop. All my issues of colour and massive ugly vignetting went away. They stack perfectly so I now have 3, 6 and 9 stop. That's all I require for early morning and golden hour shots. I may buy another 6 – stop to add for brighter light situations.

    The physics of diffraction are still in play when using ND's so anything smaller than  f/16 is going to soften things a bit if you're picky. Having enough ND stops to keep you in your lens's sweet spot (within reason) is a good thing.

    Bruce makes a good point about very wide lenses. Personally I've never had an issue at 16mm or longer though. Screw in ND's are a whole lot easier to put in your pack too.

    Yes, stay at a low ISO as it's less sensitive and cleaner plus less ND's required. As far as ISO 50 I have no idea but it's an easy test for you to make. Testing the noise tolerance of your camera's ISO settings from 50 to 1250 I would think would be as important as knowing what the sweet spot of your lens is.

    As far as shutter speed goes that's a matter of artistic taste and your subject matter.  Cheers.

  • #408425

    Lenny Wollitz
    Participant

    I like the composition but wonder how it would look minus the log.  Minimalist?  I have tried several ND filter systems.   I mostly use them for street photography just so I can shoot wide open so I like the variable type and don't mind what they do to corners on occasion.  I have a new compact that has ND filters built in which seems to be working out OK.  I also have the square type that mount on a frame on the front to the lens…  PIA.  I think Rob's solution sounds like a good solution quality and speed wise.

  • #408444

    Gary Zerbst
    Participant

    Graham    RE:  “the widest aperture possible is desired to allow the maximum amount of light through the filter.”

    I thought that the purpose of a ND filter is to prevent most of the  light from passing  though the filter.  This allows a longer open shutter time  just as does an F/22 aperture.

    • #408496

      Graham Hart
      Participant

      You are right Gary. I must admit, this confused me a bit. The wide open apertures I'd seen in a video tutorial were referring to low light photography but not necessarily ND filter photography….two different beasts. The shutter speed conundrum didn't make sense to me. With a wide open lens the shutter speed would of course reduce as a result and thereby shorten a long exposure.

      Even so, everything I've ever read says that f22 should be avoided at all costs because of the aberrations which can occur at that aperture? Don't see any in artifacts in 3pco's pic though. I guess it depends on lens quality?

  • #408452

    Federico Alegria
    Participant

    This shot has a lovely composition, but I think that it craves for a monochrome conversion. About the exposure settings I think that they are correct, this shot doesn't need to have an extremely long exposure since it has a human element involved. This human element, despite being so tiny on the frame, is extremely important and for me it gives a storytelling feeling that makes it a good shot for me.

  • #408498

    JasenkaG
    Keymaster

    I agree with Federico, you should try to convert this image to B&W, it might look quite stunning that way. Other than that, I find this composition very pleasing and both human figure and log seem to be important elements that I wouldn't remove.

  • #408501

    Rob Eyers
    Participant

    Apart from ND's here is a suggestion regarding a PP direction. There is a strong S curve so maybe work with that. B&W is a good suggestion but maybe a shift in the saturation might work. The yellow and blue work well together but the yellow is pretty dominant and pulls the eye. Anyway here's a quick example of a different direction.

  • #408527

    Federico Alegria
    Participant

    Rob, you have quite a talent for post-production cropping, I've seen several from your suggestions by now, and they are always very accurate.

    • #408594

      Rob Eyers
      Participant

      Thanks Federico! Your cheque is in the mail 🙂

  • #408593

    P71
    Participant

    Fully Agree Federico the S curve flows very naturally ,

    Lovely Photo as well.

  • #408625

    3pco
    Participant

    Thanks for all the comments everyone. I decided to take a shot at the BW conversion (and to borrow a page from Rob's crop as well. Interesting conversion as there are so many ways to go with it: black sand,, white sand, in between. I wanted to keep some light in the water. I liked the yellow sand in color, but the kid does stand out more in bw. What do people think?

    @Graham: re lens quality, yes, this was taken with a nikon 16-35mm f4 and I've never seen any chromatic aberration with it. I shoot a lot with an old 28-200 that stops all the way down to f/36 and I do have some issues with that. It can be fixed in pp, but it costs a little bit of sharpness.

  • #408720

    Maureen Photograph
    Participant

    I gave it a shot at b&w with a lot of contrast …. cropped it more and removed the log, too.

    • #409544

      Federico Alegria
      Participant

      Oh nooo, the log gives it such a nice dark tones touch, I really feel like a good balancing element :(…

  • #409171

    Frank
    Participant

    Would not have suggested removing the log, but yes, I like it and it does make it minimalist as Lenny suggested.  Maureen has really improved the sky.  Much more dramatic.   The is a recent posted article  from LS on  5 things to have for B&W .   Also, Kent DuFault has another guide!  “Complete Guide to Log Exposure Photography”.

    Here is an example of ND Filter:

    Original f/10  1/8 sec.  ISO 200     Next 15 Stop ND    5 minute exposure at same settings     (no post processing)

  • #409172

    Frank
    Participant

  • #409200

    3pco
    Participant

    @maureen  Thanks for your comment! I agree with Frank that you got much more out of the sky than I did. I have to work on that. But I am adamant about keeping the log. It is very dear to me, a special log, and perhaps I should have made that more clear. I should have used a title more like “Log on Beach with Annoying Child in Background Who Refused to Leave the Whole Time I Was There”. This was the original title I had in mind, but I was afraid it was too long.

    @frank. I would have loved to get water like that, but even though it was an overcast day, there was no way I was getting beyond 6-8seconds on that 6-stop ND. It’s more for blue hour, I think. Do you really need a full 5 minutes to get that effect on surf? And is there actually a 15-stop ND or did you stack filters to get that? Thanks!

    • #409216

      Dorothy
      Participant

      Hi @3pco: i have been following all of this and like the monochrome and the log. you could probably just use the heal tool and heal away the annoying child. 🙂

      a child on the beach 3pco edit dms

       

  • #409390

    Gary Zerbst
    Participant

    Gaham,  the  diffusion caused by  a small aperture is fact of life.  ai t ocrs anytime the apertures ucienty small. lens quality hqs nothing to do wih it.  Diffusion is an effect of the laws of optics  and no known lens design can overrule  the  Rules of physics

  • #409392

    Frank
    Participant

    Focus on Composition: The S Curve

    (Stack a 10 and 6 to get 16 stops, but I do have a 15 stop for use in NiSi setup.  Can aim right at the rising sun or to capture light trails at night c. 30 sec or to get streak effect with a rising moon, etc…)

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