Old Ferry Pier, B&W. Candlestick Point, San Francisco, California. June 12, 2011. © Copyright 2011 Steven Tze– all rights reserved.
While this may seem to be a standard black and white photo, a relatively uncommon filter was used.
I had seen some minimalistic photos on Flickr using a 10-stop Neutral Density (ND) filter. The advantages of using an ND-110 filter are that even in broad daylight, adding this filter forces you to use long exposure for an otherwise quick exposure shot. If a properly exposed shot without the filter is 1/50 second, the same exposure time with the filter is now 20 seconds. Slow cloud movements become streaks across the sky. Water movement is rendered into a glassy or icy feel. Even busy streets can be made to look almost empty as people and cars tend to not remain still long enough to become a solid image.
What didn’t work in this image is the lack of cloud motion. It wasn’t something I could control. In fact, I had hoped for fog but to no avail.
As this was my first attempt at using the ND-110 filter, I had read up on other photographers’ experiences and tips. The most important is that viewing and auto-focusing are impossible with the filter screwed on the lens. I needed to first compose, auto-focus, carefully switch my camera to manual focus mode, and then finally screw on the filter as carefully as possible so as not to alter the focus.
By the way, this is one of two piers at Candlestick Point in San Francisco. Aside from being adjacent to where the 49er’s play their home games, the walking trails and picnic areas are not well maintained.
This photo was entered into the Amador County Fair photography competition this year and received an Honorable Mention in the Amateur – Traditional – any subject – B&W category. I thought it would have maybe placed as high as 2nd, but it wasn’t to be.
EXIF data: Nikon D50, Manual, 52mm, ISO 200, 20 secs, f/11