1 Camera & lens settings
Set your camera to aperture-priority mode at around f/11 with ISO 100. Compose the shot and either focus manually or use AF before switching the lens to manual to lock focus in place. Take a test shot to assess whether exposure compensation is required, apply if necessary, and take another test shot. Once happy with the overall exposure, make a mental note of the shutter speed.
2 Attach the ND filter
It’s now time to attach your ten-stop filter, whether a screw-in or drop-in type. It’s important that focusing and test shots are taken earlier because some cameras can’t ‘see-through’ or focus through these filters. However, many mirrorless cameras can do both, but it remains good practice to lock off everything so that you know that the camera is set correctly for shooting long exposures.
3 Calculate exposure
Download and open either the Lee Stopper Exposure Guide or the NiSi Filters Australia – ND Exposure Calculator. These apps ask which strength ND you’re using and the shutter speed required under normal shooting conditions – the one you made a note of in step one. The app will tell you the exposure time required for a correct exposure and offer a timer to use.
4 Camera settings
Set manual mode and make sure the aperture is at the same setting as step one. Next, rotate the shutter dial until Bulb is shown on either the camera’s top plate or the LCD screen. This mode allows you to manually hold the shutter open for durations longer than a camera’s longest shutter speed, which on most, but not all, cameras is 30 seconds. Using Bulb mode is essential for this technique.
5 Shoot in Bulb mode
With the remote attached, release the shutter while initiating the remote’s lock function to hold the shutter open. At the same time, press the start button on the long exposure app to time the exposure. Once the timer finishes, disengage the shutter remote lock to stop the exposure before assessing the image. Zoom in to look for camera shake and to make sure exposure is correct.
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