The Day

I made it across the bridge to the Marin Headlands today to experiment with my new graduated neutral density (GND) filter. I traveled light – my tripod, the filter and holder, my camera with the 18-70 and the circular polarizer. And now…

… I have a lot of failed pictures…

It’s disappointing if anything. Imagine spending 6 hours, coming back and going “Oh.” when you see the results. There’s an immediate emotional response, akin to puncturing a balloon. It’s hard to sit back, evaluate the situation critically and think about what you’ve achieved. It’s hard especially for me because I take a dim, “glass half-empty” view of events. It’s hard to tell yourself that learning is possible only through failure.

So what have I learned today?

  • Using a Hitech 3 stop GND to photograph the Golden Gate is a Bad Idea (TM).
  • Using a tripod, even though you get snickered at, definitely pays off. My pictures are sharper and I had much more flexibility in composition. I did my first f/16 shots today!
  • The Cokin 67mm adapter ring is a POS. If you can avoid it – do so. I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to thread it onto my circular polarizer and my lens, both of which have never had problems before.
  • I now know of at least 3 new places at which to try take photographs again
  • I’ve created a mental model – if somewhat fuzzy – of when using a 3 stop GND works.

I’ll know someday if it was worth it.

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