Long Exposures at Locust Beach in Bellingham, Wash.


Just a few photos from Locust Beach while playing with my neutral density filters. I stacked two ND filters: one B+W  3.0 (10 stops) and the other my B+W 1.8 (6 stops) to get shutter speeds of up to 4 minutes. Yes, 4 minutes.

I tend to buy high quality filters because if you’re going to interrupt the flow of light, make sure the glass is superior quality. I use B+W Filters by Schneider Optics.

 Rocky Shore – 105 Second Exposure:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Sunset from Locust Beach in Bellingham, Wash., along the shore of Bellingham Bay on Wednesday August 6, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – This is a 105 second exposure. I liked how the rocks lined this section of the shore and the way the fading sunlight fell on them. Sunset from Locust Beach in Bellingham, Wash., along the shore of Bellingham Bay on Wednesday August 6, 2014.

What I was impressed with is the quality of the images at these exposures. They were pretty damned sharp and the colors reasonably accurate.

Most were shot at f/22 using my D300s at ISO 200 and Nikkor 17-35 f/2.8 lens.  These were mainly for fun. I just wanted to play with the filters.

I originally went down there to photograph the fast-moving clouds, but they disappeared when I arrived. Oh well. Make lemons into lemonade.

So I found a few spots, set up my tripod, attached the filters onto the front of the lens, and began shooting. Just having fun with it. I tried a few different angles, but I made sure to get the edge of the bay lapping over the rocks.

The cool thing with long exposures: it makes the surface of the water look misty. And the rougher the surf, the more misty it looks.

After the Sun Set – 256 second exposure:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Sunset from Locust Beach in Bellingham, Wash., along the shore of Bellingham Bay on Wednesday August 6, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – This 256 second exposure was taken about 15 minutes after sunset. I was not expecting a reasonable level of quality in the image. Actually, I am sorta shocked. Locust Beach in Bellingham, Wash., along the shore of Bellingham Bay on Wednesday August 6, 2014.

As sunset approached, I just continued to shoot. I found a patch of nice green grass with brown tips and a rock formation that point towards the old pilings. I used that as a leading device.

At one point after about a dozen shots, I removed the ND 2.0 filter. As the light was getting low, I didn’t feel the need for 6 or 8 minute exposures. Plus, I had to open the aperture which was counter-productive to this exercise.

Golden Hour – 150 Second Exposure:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - A long exposure of 150 seconds softens the waves of the rising tide at Locust Beach along the Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – A long exposure of 150 seconds softens the waves of the rising tide at Locust Beach along the Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash.

Above is my favorite shot of the evening. It was shot with both the ND 3.0 and ND2.0 filters stacked. I love how the long exposure gives the surface of the water that misty/milky feel. Had it been a bit more windy and the wave a tad more rough, the effect would have been more prominent.

TIPS to make it easier when using ND filters:

  • BEFORE putting the ND filter on, compose then focus. Due to the darkness of the filter, seeing through the lens will be nearly impossible.
  • After you focus, use a strip of tape to keep the focus ring from bumping.
  • GENTLY and CAREFULLY screw the filter on.
  • Block the eyepiece to make sure of correct metering. The stray light that enters the eyepiece will through the meter way off.
  • Have extra batteries. The long exposure will eat your battery power so having a few backups is important.

Squalicum Harbor – 30 second exposure:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Sunset at Locust Beach and Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash., on Tuesday evening July 15, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – This 30 second exposure I shot a few weeks ago. Because there was very little breeze, the flowers remained quite still. Sunset at Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash., on Tuesday evening July 15, 2014.

To buy a print of the above Squalicum Harbor photo, visit my gallery Bellingham, Wash.

Prints of these images are available for purchase in my gallery The Great Pacific Northwest.

Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. Feel free to comment, critique, or just ask questions.

Also, feel free to share and reblog, link to, and add your site in the comment section.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

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Paul Conrad is an award winning, nationally published freelance photographer living in Bellingham, Wash., in the Pacific Northwest. His work has been published in newspapers and magazine throughout the United States and in Europe.

Although his specialty is photojournalism covering news, sports, and editorial portraits, he will tackle family portraits and weddings. He is available for short term and long term assignments.

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