Experimenting With a 10 Stop ND Filter, Part 3

It’s been quite a while since my last post about my experiments with my 10 stop ND filter so i’m happy to share with you part 3. Cloudy days are perfect for using a 10 stop ND filter as you can “smear” the clouds and get a unique look and feel so when I woke up and saw the great clouds in the sky I knew this is a great opportunity to get some long exposure photos.

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Sony E-MOUNT APS-C Lens List

I’ve done some research prior to buying my new Sony a6300 to find out about all the lens options I have for the camera and I figured i’ll share what I found with anyone that might be interested. This list features all the E-Mount lenses that are currently available.

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7 Travel & Landscape Photographers that Inspire Me

Today I want to share with you the short list of travel & landscape photographers that inspire me. I love seeing their new photos and I get plenty of ideas from seeing their work and post processing techniques.

Inspiration in photography is key in my opinion and these guys provide me with plenty 🙂

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Experimenting With a 10 Stop ND Filter, Part 2

As my 10 stop ND filter experiment continues, part 2 takes place at the beach during sunset which isn’t the best idea for using a 10 stop ND filter, but on that a little later.

I waited for a good cloudy day so I can go out and get some good sunset shots at the beach. As far as I know and from images i’ve seen online, the combination of water plus clouds plus a 10 stop ND filter should give pretty explosive results so that was my hope and plan 😉

I didn’t have to venture too far as I live 5 minutes from the beach in Tel Aviv so when the time came I was there and as I mentioned in part 1, this time I remembered to take a regular exposure so that I can show you the difference the 10 stop filter has.

So here is the first image:

Sony NEX-7 | ISO 100 | f20 | 2.0 Seconds | No Filter

Sony NEX-7 | ISO 100 | f20 | 2.0 Seconds | No Filter

Sony NEX-7 | ISO 100 | f13 | 59.0 Seconds | 10 Stop ND Filter

Sony NEX-7 | ISO 100 | f13 | 59.0 Seconds | 10 Stop ND Filter

As you can see, the 10 stop ND filter sure has an affect. With that said, when I was looking at the result in camera I wasn’t blown away and I really didn’t think I can do much with this image as it seems to be real dark around the edges but thanks to the fact that I was shooing RAW files and after some post processing work in Lightroom this is the final result:

photobek-DSC09203

A big difference 🙂

Although it does look much better than I thought it would when I first loaded the image into Lightroom it is far from perfect and if you dive into the image you can see the color cast that is caused by the filter and all the noise at the edges where it was really dark so brining those areas back did some damage.

And here is the second image:

Sony NEX-7 | ISO 100 | f16 | 3.2 Seconds | No Filter

Sony NEX-7 | ISO 100 | f16 | 3.2 Seconds | No Filter

Sony NEX-7 | ISO 100 | f11 | 181 Seconds | 10 Stop ND Filter

Sony NEX-7 | ISO 100 | f11 | 181 Seconds | 10 Stop ND Filter

The second image was taken 18 minutes after the first one and as you can see, I needed 3 times the exposure time in order to get a decent image. That’s how fast the light goes out at sunset here in Israel 🙂

Just as with the first image, I wasn’t planning on get much out of this image from what I saw in camera and inside Lightroom after I imported it but RAW files and Lightroom is a strong combination and you can really do wonders:

photobek-DSC09214

Same issues here with the color cast and the noise around the edges as in the first image. Not much I can do about the color cast other than buying a better filter and about the noise I can go for longer exposures next time so I won’t have such dark areas in the image.

So why shooing with a 10 stop ND filter at sunset isn’t a good idea…

The thing about using a 10 stop ND filter during sunset is that it might be a little too much. Especially if the sunset ends in a matter of 20 minutes (give or take a few minutes).

As you see above, I used a 181 seconds exposure in the 2nd image which is 3 minutes. If the entire sunset takes around 20 minutes than you really don’t have too much time for experiments and you have to get your composition spot on real fast and you don’t have time to wonder around to look for a better angle or anything.

You need to be ready in advance and know exactly what you’re looking for so you won’t waste time setting up and testing because before you know it, the sun is gone 🙂

Got questions? remarks? anything else to add? Fill free to add them in the comments below. If not, i’ll see you in part 3 😉

 

The 80/20 of Landscape Photography

Become a truly great landscape photographer by only focusing on the 20% that actually matters!

X

Wadi Mishmar Stream Track

It’s passover here in Israel and that means that during the week long holiday pretty much everyone in Israel is going out to explore Israel and travel wherever they can.

And so did I with a group of friends. We took a long (too long) of a drive to the Dead Sea area to the Mishmar Stream track.

Photobek - Mishmar Stream 01

I didn’t plan the trip, just tagged along at the last minute so I was pretty surprised to learn that this track is located just minutes from where I was three weeks ago when I was on a Dead Sea Night & Sunrise photo workshop.

I don’t really know what my friend thought when he planned this trip but it is considered a fairly hard track and is meant for the more advanced trackers since the difficulty level is for Experts. So it was no big surprise that pretty much everyone decided to quit and turn back at the halfway point.

All but one 😉

I saw that there is a peak that I can reach and will probably have some great views so before the others had the chance to tell me to turn back I just kept going for it (slide to the 2nd image to see the peak i’m talking about).

As you can probably see from the image above I had quite a climb ahead of me and here are some of the images I managed to take during that climb:

To be honest, the fact that the sky was clear with no clouds wasn’t very helpful as clouds always add some extra flare to the images and I didn’t really feel “excited” about any of the images I took and I guess that none of them will make it into my portfolio.

I guess you just can’t win them all 🙂

The Viewpoint

The highlight of this track was the viewpoint which is located just over half the track (point number 7 on this map). It wasn’t a very easy climb but it is well worth it since the view is pretty awesome. It’s a little hill that is surrounded by all this “table top” like mountains.

photobek-DSC09160

You can see the Dead Sea and Jordan in the distance.

I took a little 360 video with my GoPro but after seeing the footage you can’t really see how high this place is and how big of a drop you have in every direction. Basically, it seems less “awesome” in the video than in reality so you better get there yourself to get the full experience 🙂

Lessons Learned

Here are some of the lessons I learned from this daily trip that I will surely implement for the next one:

  • Get a hat. The sun can be brutal, especially here in Israel and a hat would work much better than the half part of my pants that I put on my head.
  • Wear sunscreen. Baz Luhrmann said it the best 🙂
  • Don’t leave home without toilet paper in your bag. Butt wipes are also very recommended 😉
  • Even if you don’t plan the trip, do some fu**ing research so you know what to expect.

See you on the next one.

 

The 80/20 of Landscape Photography

Become a truly great landscape photographer by only focusing on the 20% that actually matters!

X

Experimenting With a 10 Stop ND Filter, Part 1

As I mentioned in a previous post about my Dead Sea Night & Sunrise Shooting workshop, it was the first time I actually managed to use my 10 stop ND filter and get some decent looking images with it.

That got me pretty excited since using a 10 stop filter opens up a whole new world for me when it comes to taking photos and mainly it means you can shoot all day long and you don’t have to focus only on the sunrise and sunset time.

I’ve been waiting for a cloudy day so I can put the filter to the test and when such a day arrived I went out and took some photos of the Tel Aviv’s City Hall.

By itself, it isn’t a real interesting building and I wouldn’t be shooting it but thank to the water fountain in front of the building and the clouds in the sky I was hoping that a long exposure would make an uninteresting photo, interesting.

And i’ll let you be the judge if I succeeded or not:

photobek-DSC09090

ISO 100 | 10mm | f/16 | 84.0 seconds

I don’t think I would be able to get an interesting shot or composition in midday without using the 10 stop ND filter. It allowed me to get an 84 seconds exposure which made the water coming out of the fountain to be silky smooth and it gave motion to the clouds.

This was just part one of my 10 stop ND filter experiments and I plan to keep testing it and post my results here and learn as I go.

The first thing i’m going to do for part 2 is to take a regular image to go along with the long exposure one so I can show the HUGE difference the 10 stop ND filter makes.

Stay tuned 🙂

 

The 80/20 of Landscape Photography

Become a truly great landscape photographer by only focusing on the 20% that actually matters!

X

Dead Sea Night & Sunrise Shooting

As I mentioned in my Lapland summery post, my photography spark was ignited and I wasn’t going to let it die off as I did after my big world travels 2.5 years ago so I signed up for a photography workshop in the Dead sea in order to shoot some night and sunrise photos.

I never really took night shots before and I was a little worried about how my little Sony NEX-7 would handle things and I was mainly concerned with the focus but after seeing the images it seems like I was worried for nothing.

This little Sony ROCKS even when it is surrounded by Canon 5D’s and Nikon D800’s 😉

Night Shoot

The night shoot was done at the bottom of Masada mountain where you can find some very interesting Marlstones that can make as a great center piece for night or day photography. The light pollution is pretty small in that area and it was also a dark night with no moon and it is pretty amazing how many stars you can see in the sky when you are at a pretty dark place.

Since i’m living in the biggest city in Israel I can barley see 10 starts at night so looking up and seeing literally thousands of starts was an great sight and actually being able to take some photos that in my opinion turned out pretty good was even better but i’ll let you be the judge:

photobek--DSC08912

Overall I’m more than happy with the images I managed to get as this was my first night shoot and it can only get better from here. I will be heading down south again in May to Timna Valley which should be much darker than where I was in the dead sea so I hope to be able to shoot the Milky Way for the first time.

Sunrise Shoot

After a short 2 hour sleep we got up and headed down to the beach to get ready for sunrise. We were pretty lucky as we had some clouds which can always make an image better than just clean blue skies.

The main thing was to find a good composition with an interesting foreground and get ready before the sun pops up over the mountains on the other side of the Dead sea. Again, pretty lucky as I found a great foreground within a minute (give or take) and now I had 30 minutes to wait for the sun to rise.

I used my 3 stop ND filter to get some motion in the water and I set my f-stop to f22 because I wanted to get the star effect from the sun just as it is picking over the mountains.

photobek--DSC08997

Since the sun was already up and we had an hour or so to spare it was time to turn around and see if there is anything interesting to shoot. I knew there is a very big sink hole in the area so I decided to go and check it out.

As I got closer I noticed it was filled with water and had the reflections of the mountains and clouds. It was pretty amazing and scary at the same time as that entire area is filled with sink holes and new ones can be added at any given time with no warning.

Also, getting too close to the edge of the sink hole wasn’t a very smart move to make (even for me) so I had to figure out how to get the best shot.

photobek--DSC09031

This wasn’t it but it’s the best shot I got with the reflections. Shortly after that the wind picked up and the water started creating little waves and ripples and the reflections were gone.

It kind of sucked but than I remembered I had my 10 stop ND filter that I never really used before since I wasn’t able to use bulb mode and shoot exposures longer than 30 seconds. This problem was fixed thanks to the Maxstone Kickstarter project.

My initial plan was to use the long exposure in order to get the reflections back but I learned that if you don’t see reflections with your eyes than it won’t matter how long of exposure you will use, you won’t see them in the image as well.

Here is the winning shot with an 89 seconds exposure:

photobek--DSC09069

The long exposure has a great effect on moving clouds as you can see above and it also got rid of all the waves and ripples in the sink hole and added a silky like texture to the water.

The only drawback to this image and the one thing that could have made it EPIC is if I could get the entire sink hole in the frame and use it as the subject in the foreground. Even with my 10mm lens I couldn’t get it all in (which can tell you something about the size of it) and I wasn’t considering shooting a panorama at the time.

At least I have a good reason to go back 🙂

I was pretty impressed with my 10 stop ND filter so I figured i’ll keep using it as it makes the images much more interesting so I found another great spot composition wise and 45 seconds later I got this:

photobek--DSC09074

Again, the long exposure does wonders to clouds and water and it really makes the image much more interesting and pleasing to the eye.

At least I think so 😉

There is no doubt I will keep using this great filter as it makes it possible to get great shots at times other than sunrise and sunset.

Feel free to share your thoughts about the photos by commenting below.

 

The 80/20 of Landscape Photography

Become a truly great landscape photographer by only focusing on the 20% that actually matters!

X

Explore the Elements Photo Contest

This is my entry for Thomas Cook’s Photo Contest. You can see all the details by clicking here. It’s a pretty cool contest and although I know my chances of winning are pretty slim it couldn’t hurt submitting my entry 🙂

Earth

Represents the hard, solid objects of the earth Associated with stubbornness, collectiveness , physicality and gravity.

This shot was taken at Sapa Valley, located at the north of Vietnam during a day trekking trip I took while I was there. The rice fields that cover all the mountain slopes is truly a remarkable sight.

Earth

Fire

Represents the energetic, forceful, moving things in the world Associated with security, motivation, desire, intention, and an outgoing spirit.

This shot was taken in Vang Vieng, Laos. This is actually the very first shot I took that I was really proud of when I saw the final result in Lightroom. I only bought my Sony NEX-7 camera a few days before getting to this spot and it is the first great photo (in my opinion at least ;)) that I got out my little Sony.

Fire

Water

Represents the fluid, flowing, formless things in the world Associated with emotion, defensiveness, adaptability, flexibility, suppleness, and magnetism.

This shot was taken in Tel Aviv, Israel from a small and broken pier on the beach, a little bit to the north of Jaffa port. We don’t get too many of these kind of sunsets in Israel but when we do, they do fill up the sky with amazing colors and I was very lucky to be at the right place at the right time.

Water

 

Air

Represents things that grow, expand, and enjoy freedom of movement Associated with will, elusiveness, evasiveness, benevolence, compassion, and wisdom.

This shot was taken at the Tel Aviv port. I used an ND filter to get a long exposure so I could make the water more silky and stretch the clouds a little to give the sense of movement to the scene.

 

The 80/20 of Landscape Photography

Become a truly great landscape photographer by only focusing on the 20% that actually matters!

X

It Was About Damn Time…

It’s been over 2 years since my ass got on a plane and landed somewhere far far away. It’s about damn time that I reset that timer and so I did 🙂

My ass got on a plane and landed in Fu**ing Lapland, Finland!

The land of Santa, the land where Nils Holgersson decided to visit in his adventures and apparently it’s the home base of Rovio, the company that brought the Angry Birds to the world 😉

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