A little trick or two 

Tonight I raced down to check out a light house and stumbled across a small jetty with a tiny boat house in it, the sun was setting fast and I knew the shot I wanted in my mind when I saw it. 

Tonight I used my nisi filter, for those that don’t know what a ND filter is In photography and optics, a neutral-density filter, or ND filter, is a filter that reduces or modifies the intensity of all wavelengths, or colors, of light equally, giving no changes in hue of color rendition. It can be a colorless (clear) or grey filter


The one I use is a 10 stop filter (stopping 10 stops of light into the camera). When you see the original compared to the finished product there is a massive difference but was only made possible by the fact that I have played around so much with post production ideas in the past making numerous mistakes on the way did I know how to do this, no tutorial or website gave me the process I am explaining off a single shot (I’m sure others know it or have written about it but I stumbled across it when I didn’t understand about bracketing on my camera) 

Here is the original shot


I rushed my shot so much as the sun was setting I miscalculated my exposure time. To obtain the right exposure time I use an app on my phone. The app is made by “lee” who are a competitor to “nisi” but hey… it’s all about math anyway. By obtaining what the photo would normally be shot at the app will tell me how long it will take with the filter attached. 


So the question is how do I make the picture go from this to the finished product 


As I shoot in RAW…. and I recommend you ALWAYS shoot in raw it gives me much more ability in post production. It is like having the negative of the photo vs having a scan of photo to work with. Through Lightroom I export my original, jump back into Lightroom and I then change my exposure by one step.. export and do it again to finally give me a series of the same photo but bracketed in different exposures. 


As with the previous post I bring these photos into photomatrix to combine them into a HDR shot allowing an evenly exposed shot to work on. You may ask why go to so much trouble and not just shoot the brackets in the first go. I wanted that smokey look on the water, whilst you can achieve this to a degree with out the filter the shot will not look as good. 

Once this step was done I then had the shot back into Lightroom for further editing. 

The next program to use is one that was purchased by google in 2015, it’s a bundle of programs called Nik software and I used two of the programs, first was Color Efex Pro to give the pic more pop however because so much work was already done the shot had a large amount of “noise” in it. In digital photographs, “noise” is the commonly-used term to describe visual distortion. It looks similar to grain found in film photographs, but can also look like splotches of discoloration when it’s really bad, and can ruin a photograph. Noise tends get worse when you’re shooting in low light.

To help with this I then bring the shot into Dfine that helps reduce this noise out of the photo. Once that is completed the photo is back in Lightroom and ready for export. 

Here is the finished product 


I hope this has shown that no photo or shot is ever lost from saving and sometimes some of your best shots can be produced from mistakes. 

Check out the other shots from tonight on my Instagram page @foto.holic

Joshua Beniston

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