All posts tagged variND

Last year I bought from B&H Photo Video a Singh-Ray VariND filter.
I’m the kind of guy that wants to have all the good stuff, but I don’t want to have to haul around so much stuff. And since one ND filter rarely does the job, I wanted something that WOULD do the job, but would also give me the flexibility to “change” the filter if necessary.
I had my eye on a VariND filter for awhile already, but I couldn’t really justify the costs (they come in at $340, which is quite a steep price I think). But I was extremely happy when I got it, and I’ve been using it a lot. It’s absolutely worth the investment, especially considering the fact you get ND1-ND8 in one filter and if you’d have to purchase these filters individually you’d be out of a lot more cash.

But… Recently I started experiencing some weird stuff going on. I noticed it for the first time a couple of months ago when I was shooting some images for my “Commuting” series. A weird red “blob” appeared right through the center of the image. At first I thought it might be some funky polarizing going on, but that’s not it. It now appears -only at the darkest setting- indoors, outdoors, in natural light, in bright sunlight, in tungsten light… Everywhere.

It didn’t used to be there. The images I shot and posted in this post were shot also with the VariND and at the darkest setting. They don’t have it.
This is how it looks:

VariND problem

D800, ISO100, 30 sec @ f/16, Nikkor 50mm, VariND filter at its darkest setting

I have no idea what could be the cause of this. I cleaned the filter several times, there’s no other filters on top of the VariND that could cause this. I didn’t drop it… I’m in the dark…
I sent Singh-Ray a mail about it yesterday, let’s see what they come up with (if they reply).

Of course I can fix it, that’s not the problem (there are few things that I can’t fix in Photoshop), but it’s a pain in the ass, because it’s local and not global, so you really have to be precise with the masks and everything. I wouldn’t want to do this to a series of 100 pictures…

VariND filter problem solved

D800, ISO100, 30 sec @ f/16, Nikkor 50mm, VariND filter at its darkest setting and some Photoshopping à la Arno

Not too long ago I bought a new toy for my camera. Had been drooling over it for a looooong time already, but never got it, because they’re hard to get from here (and with a hefty price-tag) and it would still be quite expensive to order from the States anyway. But then the other day I finally made up my mind and ordered it from B&H.

It took me awhile before I got the chance to actually test it, but some nights ago I went out to this place I’ve been looking at for some time, and set up the “gear”. And in these neck of the woods you really NEED this gear. Especially around this time, when the sun sets around midnight and rises again an hour later without it getting dark completely. And even then it was still so light and bright that I couldn’t get it exposed any longer than 30 secs. It worked fairly ok. There was a decent wind that kept the waves rolling and the boat bobbing on the waves, so that gives a nice little touch to the image.
This image was shot just after 8pm, and it was like mid-day. I really need to go out after midnight to catch some of that civil twilight. Maybe then I can up the clock to a minute or so…

Question now is (again): which one’s better? The color one or the black and white one?

Boat and pier

Both images shot with D700, ISO200, 30sec @ f/16, Nikkor 50mm, 8-stop VariND filter

Boat and pier