What is an ND filter? What is it for? How do you use it?
ND or Neutral Density filters are dark filters and are designed to reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor of your camera in order to increase exposure times, without affecting the color of the image.
There are many different manufacturers, and if you decide to get one, make sure you don’t get a cheap one. This filters usually start from light and go to really dark. They reduce your F-stop by 1 stop, 2 stops, etc. etc.
I like to use a 10 stop filter. This is a very dark filter, it reduces light by ten stops. You have to set up your shot before you attach your filter. Here is a video I made on how to use these filters.
This is the filter I use for all my daytime long exposures. 77mm 3.0 ND MRC 110M Filter, Every photo here has been shot with this exact filter, and I could not be happier.
Long Exposures Using ND Filters
So when do you use these filters? I like to use them when the weather is crazy, usually when the clouds are visibly moving really fast and the colors are vibrant. During sunrise and right after sunset is usually a good time.
You can use these filters in the day time that’s how you get the crazy movement of the clouds. Below are a few examples of how I use these filters. All these photos are shot in bulb mode and are from 1-3 minute exposures.
Have you ever used one?