(Nancy Kaufman) #1




  • Use a variable ND filter
    to slow exposures


  • 30 minutes

Skill level

  • Intermediate

Kit needed

  • Variable ND filter

  • Tripod

  • Remote shutter release

A bit of a blur?

Adam Waring uses a variable neutral density filter to slow

down shots just enough to convey a sense of movement

Windmills are among the most
picturesque man-made structures
that can be found on the
landscape. But these once-
functional buildings, which used
the power of the wind for anything
from draining waterlogged land
to milling flour, are now relics of
a bygone era, and as such are
mostly static shells, whose sails
turn no more.
But that’s not the case with
Wilton Windmill... It’s been lovingly
restored and preserved in the
Pewsey Vale of Wiltshire. It also
still uses the power of the wind to

grind grain into flour in the age-old
tradition – sails turning under the
power of the wind. Which begs the
question: how do you convey this
sense of movement in a still?
Using ND filters to get long
exposures can turn the churning
sea into a milky blur, or moving
clouds into painterly streaks and,
in the same way, can be used to
blur the moving elements in your
scene, helping convey a sense of
movement. However, rather than
exposures that are several
seconds – or minutes – long, we
want an exposure that’s typically

just under a second; enough to add
a hint of blur to the spinning sails.
You need to strike a careful
balance. If your exposure is too
short, it’ll just look like the sails are
out of focus, rather than moving,
but too long and they become an
indistinguishable mess – or even
disappear altogether. This is where
a variable ND comes in, as we have
complete control over just how
dark the filter is, we can control our
exposure time precisely to show
the sense of movement we want
without compromising our other
camera settings.


P rojec t^ one:^ Core^ skills



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