DJI Mavic Air ND Filters? Really? Yes, that’s right, and they work really good with the DJI Mavic Air.
When you think of ND (Natural Density) filters, you think of daytime long exposures. However daytime long exposures from a drone?? Seriously? It’s a crazy idea and a concept that you would have never thought possible a few years ago, but today that very same notion is plausible.
I headed down to the beach with my Mavic Air and my Polar Pro ND Filters to give them a try. I didn’t really know what to expect as I had never used ND filters on a drone before to shoot long exposures.
The filters fit perfectly, they are identical to the original cap that is on the Mavic Air. After getting the 10 stop filter on there, the drone was flying the same as it always has. I flew it over the waves and started shooting.
Thre was not a lot of action on the beach, and the waves were really calm. However, I did get to use the filters, and to my surprise, they work exceptionally well. I was able to slow down my shutter speed to about 2 seconds, and the images look nice and clear. Hard to imagine since they are shot from a drone.
DJI Mavic Air ND Filters
In conclusion, the Polar pro-ND filters are really impressive. They are great for daytime long exposure photography, especially when you are trying to change up your photography game. Being a photographer that loves daytime long exposures, is good to know how I can take this kind of images from the air.
Even though the conditions were not perfect, I did get a chance to test out the filters and know that they work well for those times when the conditions are good. Polar Pro Cinema ND filters are a great addition to anyone’s toolkit. Have you used them before? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.
One of the questions I get the most is how I take daytime long exposure photos. I made a video so you can see exactly what I do, how I look at the clouds and light. Here is a another blog post I made covering this exact topic along with lots of sample photos.
I have been photographing these lifeguard towers for the past 6 years. I have a series on them that took me 2 years to complete. They are all so different and so unique. Not one of them is the same.
There are a couple new ones that were recently put up, and they look really cool. This is the new 4th street lifeguard tower in Miami Beach. I have been getting up to check out the sunrise just about every other morning and photograph this things. I just find them super cool.
When you are out there you have to remember to keep moving around as the sun starts to come up. The light will start changing quickly so you have to think on your feet and try to get as many compositions as you can during sunrise.
Here is a video I put together on how I edit my long exposure photos. I always try to get close to what I picture in my head with my camera settings, this way I do not have to spend too much time on the computer and more time out shooting.
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.