I got a chance yesterday to play with my other new toy- a Singh-Ray Vari-ND Variable Neutral Density Filter. This filter allows me to darken the image without changing the color. You turn a ring on the filter to decrease the amount of light- up to 8 stops! This allows you to slow down the shutter speed to get some great effects. Here’s a shot I took of Fish Creek Falls, just outside Steamboat Springs, CO.

This photo was a 6 second exposure in the middle of the day.

The filter definitely takes some getting used to. First, when it’s cranked up to max, your camera’s exposure meter is worthless. I found I had to set the camera on Manual and experiment until I got the right exposures. Second, you need a good tripod. I left my good one at the condo, and brought a cheap light tripod. I needn’t have bothered- most of my shots were blurry from vibrations. Lesson learned- bring the Gitzo whenever I bring the Singh-Ray.

I’m looking forward to playing more with this filter. I better be- it’s more expensive than the last lens I bought!

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