To polarize or to ND?

Saturday, I shot water details in Timmins:

When shooting water, like rapids, a polarizer is the obvious choice of filter. Turn the polarizer until reflections disappear.

But sometimes,  you need a neutral density filter, because it is darker. The shot above is an example of that: even with a dark (factor 8) ND filter and at f/32 and 50ISO, I could only get a shutter speed of 1.3 seconds. Which, as it happens, was fine; it’s exactly what I wanted. Any slower, and the flow lines would disappear.

For a waterfall I would have wanted even slower. Much slower: 20 seconds.

If I had used the polarizer, I would not have done that, this time.

Why? Because I was shooting on a bright sunny day. Too much light.

Lesson: the best time to shoot water motion is on an overcast day. Bright overcast is fine!


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