Long Exposure Photography With Neutral Density (ND) Filters

Malaysia, Penang, Pete DeMarco, asia, clouds, jetty, photography, sunrise, tips, travel, water

I really like long exposure photography. There is a small learning curve, but when you get it, you can produce some really cool effects with your images.

This photo here is from a great spot in Malaysia called Penang. It’s the country’s second largest city but there are parts of it which make it feel like a lazy backwater. One of those spots is this fisherman’s jetty.

Neutral Density 10-Stop Filter Photography

The first thing I did was place my camera on a tripod. Then I set it up low and close the water. The closer you are to the water, the more prominent it becomes in the photo. I also liked the leading line of the jetty, and the sunken boat to balance it off. The boat also tells a story so I wanted to give that importance in the scene as well.

The next thing I did was put my camera on manual focus and set it to the proper sharpness. Once I had the right exposure settings, I screwed on my B+W 77mm 3.0 ND 110 Filter which gives a 10 stop exposure reduction. That means I can keep my shutter open for a longer period of time. For example, this photo was a 22 second exposure. That long exposure time creates a smoothing blur effect on clouds and water.

This video by Greg Benz gives some great tips on how to create long exposures. I more or less follow the same steps.

However, rather than calculate the exposure time by using his “ISO 6400 trick,” I use a free app called LongTime Exposure Calculator.

Finally, here are some cool long exposure photography ideas from DigitalRev.


  • Camera: Nikon D610
  • Lens: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR Lens
  • Aperture: ƒ/22
  • Taken: February 26, 2015
  • Exposure bias: +2/3EV
  • Focal length: 20mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 20s
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Author: Pete DeMarco

Pete DeMarco is an award-winning travel photographer. His passion for helping people transform their photography shows through in the expert advice he shares. His work has been featured in National Geographic Traveler, CNN, and as a staff writer for Digital Photography School.