Thursday, May 9, 2013

Moving Clouds

More than a year ago I saw these photos where it looked like the clouds were moving. [Go here for some ideas.]  I was so impressed and inspired that I immediately purchased some neutral density filters for my 24-75 mm lens.  Those filters showed up a couple of weeks later, but by then I had lost interest.  Thus, these filters have been sitting around my house for more than a year having never been used.

The other day I had nothing to do and I noticed that the clouds were moving rather quickly outside.  So I dug out my filters, my camera, my tripod and headed up Bernal Heights. 

This was my first attempt and I learned some things:  1) (this is actually a general "rule" for photography) try not to do this in the middle of the day.  The sun is very high and very bright and thus no matter how dark your filters, you can't keep your shutter open as long as you want because it is too bright.  2) It is easier to focus on infinity than to try to get some depth of field.  This is because you have to focus while the filters are off and then put the filters on afterwards -- putting the filters on can move your focus.  3) It is fine and actually useful to double- or triple-up on the filters.  I used three neutral density filters on all of these shots.

And I think they turned out rather nice.  In fact, I was so excited I went back out the next week to take photos of the ocean.  Because this technique is also used to take those fun pictures of water that look like cotton.  But I'll share those photos on another day.

Today you get clouds...