October 3, 2005 by Allen George
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.