The above two photographs were shot a few minutes apart, from exactly the same vantage (though at marginally different angles) on a little spit of land underneath a road-bridge overlooking Noosa Lakes, along Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. It was a beautiful sunset, and I wanted to catch the colour of the clouds turning pink as the sun lit them from below. You only get a few minutes to make the most of that sort of colour, as the angle of the sun changes rapidly, and colour builds to intensity, then falls away quickly, and all you’re left with is grey.
The first image (actually taken second) is a regular shot taken with a polarizer, and shows the clouds, their colour, and their reflection in the rippled water. The second shot is taken with the same lens but with what was then my new toy (and still one that doesn’t get a whole load of use, which is a shame cos I really like it), and which I showcase from time-to-time- my ND 400 neutral density filter. By cutting out the light to 1/400th of what it is before the filter goes on but without changing the colour of that light, the ND400 means I can leave the shutter open 400 times as long at the same camera settings without overexposing the shot- thus giving cool effects like moving clouds, smoothed-out water (not that the lake needed much smoothing that evening), and under other circumstances, streaked headlamps or ghosted-out people.
It’s a faff to set up as it involves needing a tripod, a pre-focused and pre-framed image, a shutter-release, the switching round of filters, and, of course, sufficient time to actually expose the frame. But it gives a unique photographic style and a cool effect that is one hundred percent ‘natural’ (by which I mean, produced in-camera, and not in some post-processing photography software on a computer someplace; we can debate the pros and cons of this some other time…).
I thought I’d share with you the comparison of the two styles, just for fun.