Project one: Core skills - A bit of a blur?
N-Photo: the Nikon magazine|May 2020
Project one: Core skills - A bit of a blur?
Adam Waring uses a variable neutral density filter to slow down shots just enough to convey a sense of movement

The Mission

– Use a variable ND filter to slow exposures precisely


– 30 minutes

Skill level

– Intermediate

Kit needed

– Variable ND filter – Tripod

– Remote shutter release

Windmills are among the most picturesque man-made structures that can be found on the landscape. But these oncefunctional buildings, which used the power of the wind for anything from draining waterlogged land to milling flour, are now relics of a bygone era, and as such are mostly static shells, whose sails turn no more.

But that’s not the case with Wilton Windmill… It’s been lovingly restored and preserved in the Pewsey Vale of Wiltshire. It also still uses the power of the wind to grind grain into flour in the age-old tradition – sails turning under the power of the wind. Which begs the question: how do you convey this sense of movement in a still?

Using ND filters to get long exposures can turn the churning sea into a milky blur, or moving clouds into painterly streaks and, in the same way, can be used to blur the moving elements in your scene, helping convey a sense of movement. However, rather than exposures that are several seconds – or minutes – long, we want an exposure that’s typically just under a second; enough to add a hint of blur to the spinning sails.


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May 2020