Why wait?

Why wait?

By |2013-12-29T19:07:54+00:00Apr 1st, 2013|

You could imagine the foot traffic that the Cape Otway Lighthouse in Australia had on this gorgeous day. And why should it be any different? The Great Ocean Road. Plenty of warm sun. A beautiful lighthouse. It’s a recipe for lots of people enjoying themselves.

And then there is the photographer with the tripod and bag full of glassy goodness. The goal for me was to capture the full path leading to the Cape Otway lighthouse without anyone in the frame. Typically, I’d have to wait an exceptionally long amount of time to achieve this. Plus, I’d have to inconvenience the other tourists by asking them to stand back while I got my shot. Overall, not the most pleasant experience for everyone involved.

That’s why I added about 15-stops worth of ND filters onto my lens. :) Doing so forced me to expose the camera for a crazy long time – but it had two very positive byproducts. First, because it was blazingly bright out, all of those ND filters helped me get an evenly lit shot. Secondly, because the pedestrian traffic was moving at a steady clip (everyone was basically walking to or from the lighthouse), they didn’t stand still long enough to translate onto the image.

As photographers, it’s important to know how to use the gear you carry but it’s also just as important to know the positive byproducts of using them, as well!

In terms of processing
Not much done here other than basic corrections and slight tweaks in Lightroom 4.3’s Develop Module.



  1. MD.Rasel Ali April 1, 2013 at 10:28 am - Reply

    nice,,,,,,,,,,,,,, :)

  2. Tyler Kinzer April 1, 2013 at 10:35 am - Reply

    That's really cool +Brian Matiash I wouldn't have thought of that. I would have been cloning people out for days!

  3. Wes Hardaker April 1, 2013 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Wonderful idea and picture Brian!  What was the resulting length of the exposure, if you don't mind sharing?

  4. Peter Tellone April 1, 2013 at 10:40 am - Reply

    Plus you can get some dreamy cloud movement

  5. Bruce Goren April 1, 2013 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Ha! Great new idea for creating a clean background plate for video special effects.

  6. Rowan Sims April 1, 2013 at 10:48 am - Reply

    Nice. I wouldn't have picked that as a long exposure. Thanks for the tip!

  7. Dave Wilson April 1, 2013 at 10:52 am - Reply

    Australians must move faster than Americans. I tend to find there's usually someone insistent on standing in the frame, swaying slowly for the multiple minutes of the exposure, giving a nice, eye-catching blob in the final exposure. :-)

  8. Mark Weston April 1, 2013 at 11:00 am - Reply

    Very cool result. I must try this for this purpose. I typically use to smooth water, but this is looks like it worked perfect for you.

  9. Scott Starkey April 1, 2013 at 11:21 am - Reply

    Nice. Another reason to get a ND filter. My wife wishes you wouldn't spend our money like that. :-)

  10. Scott King April 1, 2013 at 11:34 am - Reply

    I've been wanting to get a Big Stopper before summer comes (I live at the beach) but every-time I try to find one they are sold out. Anyone have any other favorite pick for an ND filter?

  11. Cameron Siguenza April 1, 2013 at 11:45 am - Reply

    +Scott King These new Pro-IRND filters from Formatt-Hitech are worth a look – I own 2 big stoppers and one of these new ones – bought this a few months ago, and I quite like it. Now that I have this, I plan to sell my unused big stopper that I bought as a backup. 


  12. Scott King April 1, 2013 at 11:47 am - Reply

    +Cameron Siguenza Ohhh thanks. I'll check that out!

  13. Marcel Borgstijn April 1, 2013 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    Great use of those filters.

  14. Peter Tellone April 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    +Scott King You may also want to look into Screw in ND filters if you aren't going for a Grad, You may not have the light leakage and flare potental that Squares do.(There are ways around it) But everyone has their preferences. I think if I'm not mistaken +Josh Haftel has the B + W 3.0

  15. Michelle Potter April 1, 2013 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    Turned out very lovely +Brian Matiash

  16. Josh Haftel April 1, 2013 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    I have both the nd110 from B+W (screw-on lens) as well as the Lee set and I greatly prefer the Lee set. I've never run into an issue with scattered light with the stacked Lee filters (provided you put the big stopper at the position closest to the lens and close off the viewfinder).

    The biggest problems I have with Lee are that they stubbornly refuse to fix their supply chain problem and the folks I've met from Lee just aren't that pleasant. Still, they make a good product and if you can get your hands in a set, are worthwhile. The hitech folks on the other hand are really hungry for our business and if they've been able to resolve the issues with color casts and inconsistencies, might be a really great alternative.

  17. Brian Matiash April 1, 2013 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    Like +Josh Haftel, I also have the B+W and Lee 10-stop filters. Totally in agreement that Lee's supply and inventory management is sadly problematic considering that people were scouring all over god's green internet looking for one.

    With that said, I do find the B+W to run rather warm with color cast and the Lee Big Stopper to run cooler. I mitigate both cases by simply shooting a reference image of an X-Rite ColorChecker Passport and run a custom WB off of that.

  18. Josh Haftel April 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    Or you can just convert to b&w like I do ;)

  19. Brian Matiash April 1, 2013 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    +Josh Haftel HA! Indeed, my friend.

    Japan taking good care of you?

  20. Josh Haftel April 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    So far so good :)

  21. Alexander Safonov April 1, 2013 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    wow. +Brian Matiash  once again delivers !

  22. Peter Tellone April 1, 2013 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    Although +Josh Haftel +Brian Matiash  all kidding aside you do want to correct for any color casts even if converting to B & W especially if you are converting using a color filter, i.e Channel  Mixer, or one of "those" software company's plug-ins that use a color filter.
    Take for example a Magenta Cast (Most Common) If you were to use a magenta filter on the image to convert, your image would be about the same in Luminance values. However if you used the RGB Complimentary color of Magenta…Green You could loose 12% of the luminance in the image

    Which, is not too bad because it is across the board but it causes you to brighten the image when you set the white point, raising noise which is already a problem with long exposures (although Google Nik Dfine cures that;)

    OK, now that everyone is asleep…but point is, Fix your color cast even if going B & W. It may not be THAT important in real life, it just depends on your buttness factor annnnnd I think I just showed mine…lol

    Josh…bring me back Mochi on a stick!

  23. Laksana Prahara April 2, 2013 at 3:27 am - Reply

    Nice..im like.

  24. Michael Houlden April 2, 2013 at 8:32 am - Reply

    that's very clever. I was sure you were going to say multiple exposures and lots of compositing.

Please share your thoughts! (Markdown syntax is supported)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.