As a professional photographer, I came from the film days. We had to control as much of our creative vision as possible in the camera. Whether it was exposure, depth of field or motion, we did all of that through our cameras. In most cases, we used external filters to help us control the environment in which we photographed.
Now, in the age of digital, we find we have tons of control once we hit the computer and software. Does this mean less work for us in the field? Not if you’re good at your craft, in my opinion. I try to control my outside elements as much as possible. I use an assortment of filters to help me control light and motion and Singh-Ray filters are my overwhelming choice. Today we’ll touch on one of my favorites.
Mor-Slo filters are high-stop solid neutral density filters and are available in 5, 10, 15 and 20 stops. In past years, I carried several 2- and 3-stop NDs and had to stack them. Not anymore.
The two I use the most are the 10-stop and 15-stop Mor-Slo.
The photo above is a pool at the end of a slow moving stream. Because of the stream movement, we have some ripples in the pool. By using a Mor-Slo 10-stop filter for the photo below, I was able to slow the shutter speed down enough to smooth out the pool. I feel that this gave a much more pleasing result.
The photo above is of a river in the Great Smoky Mountains. The bright light and moving water came out ok, but I wanted a softer look. My Singh-Ray 10-stop Mor-Slo gave me a shutter speed of 30 seconds – and the look I wanted, in the photo below.
I was recently giving a private lesson in St Augustine, Florida and was demonstrating the Singh-Ray Mor-Slos and other filters. We purposely went out around 4 PM, prior the golden light, to show how you can use these and other filters to control light in harsher conditions. This gave me the best conditions to show how well these filters work.
The first photo below was taken without a filter. I thought it would look so better using a 15 stop Mor-Slo, which is the next image below. This turned out to be one of my favorites of slow-moving water.
If you’re like me, having these high-quality Mor-Slo filters in your bag will become an essential set of tools to help raise your creativity, as well as the quality of your overall photography.
Need a 6- or 7-stop instead of a 5? An 11- or 12-stop instead of a 10 – or a 16-stop instead of a 15? Singh-Ray is the only filter company in the world who will make you one, at the same price as the regular one!
Note: Cameras typically do not have shutter speeds slower than 30 seconds, so you will need to put your camera in Manual, set your desired aperture, put your shutter speed on Bulb, use a cable release to open and lock the shutter – and time the exposure with your watch or smartphone. I have done exposures of multiple minutes to get the results I needed. Check your histogram for correct exposure and experiment to fine tune your results. The Singh-Ray website has a conversion chart to help you get the exposure shutter speed you need or you can use one of the many apps available.