Category Archives: Tutorial

First photos using two polarizing filters as a neutral density filter

Aka “Homemade” Neutral Density Filter

Pont Saint-Michel

View of Pont Saint-Michel, Paris.

In the beginning of the month I wrote about Neutral Density Filters and how expensive it was to get them shipped to France so I decided to follow this article that talked about creating your own with two polarizing filters. I ordered the filters and they arrived safely to my door last week. Yay! for post office efficiency!

Île de la Cité

Woman walking in Île de la Cité, Paris.

Last weekend I tried them on and this is what I learned:

- You will need a “Circular Polarizing Filter” and a “Linear Polarizing Filter”. I got mine at eBay for about €29 from 2 different vendors. The “CPF” was €20 and if from a German brand named Hoya and the “LPF” was €9 and is made by Rowi;

- You have to screw them to your lens in the correct order -> First the “CPF” and then the “LPF”, or else it doesn’t work;

- Mount your camera in a tripod – You will need this because you’re about to do very long exposures;

- Focus your camera, switch it to manual focus after, if you use Auto Focus;

- Turn the filters until you get your viewfinder black, like you would get if you had your lens cap on;

- Switch the camera to manual and start experimenting. -> For these first photos you can see here I used 30 seconds exposures with a small aperture. I could have opted to do shorter exposures with a wider aperture but that would defeat the purpose, which was to have the buildings in focus while the movement of the people (and the water, in the Saint-Michel bridge) was captured and did a sort of “swoosh effect” (this is a technical term, “swoosh”…);

- As expected, the color aberrations where severe. I had to apply a black and white blue filter in post processing. Surprisingly though, not much more needed postprocessing. I’m very happy with the first results!

#193 - Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris filled with people walking by.

Alas, it started to rain so I had to pack up my gear. Next time I’ll try to do it on a dryer day.

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Motion Blur – How to

This is a recurring topic where I pick a photo from the Creative Commons library and feature it as Creative Commons of the Week.

Golden Zephyr

Photo by: Joe Penniston | License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Great crisp photo of an object in motion.

As I talked about it in the comments of a previous post, you can achieve this sense of moving through space by following the subject’s motion with your camera while pressing the shutter button. It is called panning.

In this case the photographer shot it with a somewhat long exposure (1/20) and small aperture (f 25).
To do your own motion photos you will have to try different settings, depending on the time of day (light) and speed of the object but you can start by setting your camera for shutter priority (which is the “S” on your camera mode dialer) and set it to 1/30 or less. In the shutter priority mode your camera will “force” the aperture to give you enough light to make a well exposed picture. Sometimes this doesn’t work and you will have to try different settings. To do this switch the camera mode dial to manual (“M”) and try different apertures with the same slow shutter speed until you get the perfect exposure.

I find it helpful to experiment this technique in the side of a road where cars pass by. You will not have lack of moving subjects that way.

This is one of the first basic lessons I’ve learned that helped me understand how my camera works and how to take better photos with it.

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Video Tutorial – Enhancing the Eyes in Photoshop

I found this Photoshop tutorial on YouTube about a year ago on how to enhance the eyes of a person to make them more clear in a photo.

The tutorial is explained in good detail and I sure you will learn from it as I did. Enjoy!

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