Welding Glass ND Filter

In the last week I’ve been able to get really stuck into my photography on multiple occasions. This has been a nice change as over the last few months, I’ve only really been getting small amounts done – most of which has been towards my OCA TOAP course.

Last Sunday, I got all the images finished for my second assignment, which I’m now in the process of writing up, and on Wednesday, my wife took me away for a few days for my birthday. We went down to Weymouth, on the south coast, which was the ideal time for me to experiment with something I’ve been wanting to do for a while – using a piece of welding glass a an ND Filter.

The welding glass I purchased was a shade 10 piece of glass. To attach it to the end of my lens I blue tac’d it to a 77mm p-series cokin filter adapter which would then screw to my lenses.

With this done, I was set to go. The first thing that needed to be done was to set a custom White Balance, if this isn’t done, images come out looking something like this:

No WB-1

You could try shooting in RAW and then trying to adjust the white balance, but it doesn’t seem like Lightroom or Photoshop will let you push the adjustments far enough and also it would be difficult to see what your end result may be so I wouldn’t recommend this.

After setting the white balance, I needed to compose the scene without the welding glass attached and set the focus. Once the welding glass is attached, you can’t see anything through the view finder or using live view.

I was now ready to start to capture some images. Seeing as I don’t yet own a cable release, I decided to just experiment with a 30s exposure with ISO set to 100. This turned out significantly under exposed and seeing as I couldn’t boost the exposure any further (and was already using the widest aperture setting I thought I could get away with), I started boosting the ISO. A 400 ISO seemed to be getting the exposures about right.

Finally, with welding glass shots, you’re going to need to do some work in post production unless you’re happy with any colour casts that are present. I also found that the dynamic range seemed to have suffered (possibly due to bumping up the ISO) and I needed to do some work to bring out some shadow detail.

So, after adjustments, here are the results. Given the fact that the welding glass is 1/50th – 1/100th the price of some of the better known ND filters, I think these have been quite successful:

Weymouth with Welding Glass 4 - BW

Weymouth with Welding Glass 4

Weymouth with Welding Glass 3

Weymouth with Welding Glass 2

Weymouth with Welding Glass 1 BW

Weymouth with Welding Glass 1

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