Northern Ireland Landscape Photography

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St Mary’s Lighthouse – the power of a Neutral Density (ND) filter

Often when you visit a tourist attraction it’s hard to get a good photo as there are people milling around everywhere. However there are a few techniques that can be triedto overcome this.

Some would suggest taking a number of shots every few seconds (using a tripod)  then combining the photographs in post production to remove the people.

On a recent family trip to England I decided to experiment with a Neutral Density filter, the thinking behind this idea was the the longer the shutter was open then the people would be moving and should vanish from the image.

When we arrived at St Mary’s Lighthouse there were few tourists as the tide was in, as shown in the photograph below.

St-Mary-Lighthouse-4- Northern Ireland Landscape Photographer

However, within an hour the tide was out and the tourists started arriving, in this case I simply tried longer exposures with a couple Neutral Density filters. I had a B&W 110, B&W 102 and a Polarizer so tried various combination of these ND filters.

I took the following photographs, the first one being the shortest at 13 seconds.

St-Mary-Lighthouse-Norhtern Ireland Landscape PhotographerIn the above shot the people are quite obvious on the walkway.

The following photograph was exposed for 85 seconds:

St-Mary-Lighthouse-Norhtern Ireland Landscape PhotographerThe people are less obvious, but are still visible on the walkway.

The final shot was exposed for 320 seconds, I can find little evidence of people on the walkway in this image:

St-Mary-Lighthouse-Norhtern Ireland Landscape Photographer

If you are wanting to take photos and don’t want the hassle of combining files, try and ND filter and expose for long enough that there won’t be any visible movement in the scene.

Here are other photography tips

Equipment:
X-E1 | Fuji XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS | GorillaPod SLR-Zoom with Ball Head | B + W 102 ND Filter| B + W 110 ND Filter| B + W Circular Polarizer

Software:
Adobe Lightroom  

 

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