A little while ago I reported on the 10-Stop Mor-Slo filter from Singh-Ray. This ND filter was great at blocking light for creative effects; if you wanted 30 second silky water shots this was the filter to create it. Now Singh-Ray has gone a step further with their 15-Stop Mor Slo filter. And I am using this filter for more than just slowing down waterfalls. How about crashing surf and streaking clouds?
Here is how this filter works. First, you set up your shot. Figure out composition, get the focus sharp, make sure your tripod is steady…and then attach the filter. Once the filter is attached, the viewfinder will be black and autofocus won't work. I shoot this filter in manual mode as I find it easier to adjust my exposure. I will set my exposure based on what my meter reading is for my first shot. Often I find that I need to let in more light than what the meter is indicating, and just keep opening up until my exposure is correct. If you have long exposure noise reduction, turn it on to reduce noise in your 20-30 second shots.
I was just in Kauai teaching a photo workshop for AMS. We had incredible surf conditions on the north shore, perfect for creating dramatic wave images. The 15-Stop Mor-Slo filter was the tool of choice to shoot at 30 seconds during middle of the day with the sun high overhead. What was really interesting using this filter was watching the effect on clouds. Puffy cumulus clouds turned into interesting shapes during the 30 second exposures, and the surf looked like cotton. We did shoot some images freezing big waves and crashing surf, but in the end I liked the 15-Stop Mor-Slo shots the best. The filter retails for $450.