I’ve been itching to properly get in to long exposure photography. But, I’m a cheapskate! No way am I going to pay £100+ for a good quality ND filter – that I’ll use once or twice a month at most – when for the same cash as I could pick up a few lenses to try out.
I have tried welding glass (£3 a square? Count me in), but was less than impressed with the drop in image quality or the time spent in post-production trying to remove the green colour cast (or eventually having to remove the colour entirely!).
Then I got thinking about other ways I could do this. Surely, if what you are looking for is movement – or a smoothing of movement – and the thing you are photographing is moving; then a series of shots from the same position will convey that movement.
After a short search using a popular internet search engine, I came across an excellent post on Pat David’s blog: http://blog.patdavid.net/2013/09/faking-nd-filter-for-long-exposure.html
Not only did Pat’s post confirm that my idea would work, but it went further and described the software he was using to knit his shots together. I already had Hugin installed on my Linux machine and decided that, rather than using the command line, I wanted a GUI that would give me a fast preview for the enfuse script. For that I found MacroFusion.
So what you have above, is an exposure locked set of images taken at (memory!) 1/250ths of a second. I set the EPL5 up to take ten images at 0.5 second intervals, which has given me the kind of smoothing of movement you’d get with an exposure time of over a second. This was then aligned and stacked using the enfuse script via the MacroFusion GUI. I’m calling this “faking” it but in reality; this is a long exposure! – just not taken in the traditional way.
I’m happy enough with the results to say that I’ll be revisiting this technique in the near future. Get in touch if you want any further explanation of what goes into it. Or better yet, send in your own efforts!