Monday, May 20, 2013

Filtering The Image...

The camera can catch an image we don't really see.

When you use a slow shutter speed - maybe 10 seconds - waves crashing onto a rock jetty become misty and moody.

But a camera will overexpose if you do this on a bright and sunny day at the beach.

Ah.... the secret is to use a dark Neutral Density filter. Think of it as sunglasses for your camera.

This was taken at my camera's slowest ISO (what used to be called film speed) with the smallest aperture opening (f/8 is the best I can do) and a very dark ND 3.0 filter. For a long, long 10 seconds.

My Photography Group had an outing Sunday to Folly Beach to learn about these tools.

Our teacher was Rudy Lutge, a talented and very patient man who said "Let me run through this and please hold your questions until the end."

Rudy gave a succinct and step-by-step tutorial.

He showed us how to create images of  smokey water swirling around wooden groins and boulders at The Edge Of America

 My small Canon S90 is called a Point & Shoot (P/S) as opposed to the much larger DSLRs by Canon and Nikon.

The members brought an array of high-end equipment, tripods and a selection of filters and other accessories.

I don't even own a bag to carry such items. My camera usually hangs on my belt.

Today I had it attached to my tripod so I was able to "play with the big boys."

The longer the exposure, Rudy explained, the softer the moving water will appear.

Long enough and even the waves will appear as glassy smooth. My camera is limited to a maximum long exposure of 15 seconds.

Rudy checked on each of us to reiterate the steps to success.

I later found that half a dozen members had gone directly to the light house at the end of the island.

We had gathered near the Summer Place paid parking lot at the dead end cul-de-sac of Ashley Avenue.

A few dared to park on the street - a challenge to the many beach parking rules and regulations.

We had included the Big Three: 1. Park in the same direction as the flow of traffic; 2. All tires completely off the road and 3. 15 feet from a fire hydrant.

We are not sure if we violated a warning sign as we worked our way down the beach toward the Morris Island light house.

The "any time" was extremely intimidating. Guess we could plead ignorance.

I usually can claim that.

It was fun as photographers would show off what they had just snapped.

Those handy lighted screens on the back of digital cameras usually are clear and distinct but it's a bit different on a beach in bright daylight.

Still beats shooting film and not being sure of what will develop later.
Because we started around 4:30 in the afternoon, we kept an eye on the clouds to see if a spectacular sunset was in the offing.

Not too likely. But there was no rain either.

By adding a polarizing filter to the ND filter made the clouds register nicely as a backdrop to the sea oats on the dunes.

Later I realized I also showed the rooftop of a beach cottage.

Hey, it was bright and the screen was hard to see.

I do want to show another view that was softened because of Rudy's instructions.

It was a fun and educational outing.

Members are now uploading their shots to a ND album for the event.

We create one for all of our adventures and invite you to take a look.

Unless you check out using ND filters, this might be the only time you can view the misty waters off Folly Beach.


(Click on the photos for more details.)

On Folly, park with care and obey the rules.

Thanks for stopping by.

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