Mullica River in the NJ Pine Barrens

Windy Day on the Mullica River

Photographers change reality. Although we essentially record what we see with a camera, we always add our two cents to an image. This is done with the choices we make. Some are done before we click the shutter, like the subject we choose, the camera angle and composition. Some are done afterwards, like converting an image to black and white or cropping it.

A neutral density filter is a handy photographer’s tool that changes reality by bending time. These filters limit the amount of light going into the camera. This allows a photographer to use a longer camera exposure, which essentially condenses a period of time into a single moment.

Those beautiful photographs of silky waterfalls are usually created with neutral density filters. The camera’s shutter is open for up to a couple of seconds so the moving water blurs beautifully while the surrounding landscape remains sharp. This is one example of  bending time with photography.

This photograph of a beaver dam along the Mullica River was taken on a very windy day using a super neutral density filter called a “Big Stopper.” The filter seriously limits the light going through the lens allowing for very long exposures, even in bright sunlight. This image shows what happened during the two minutes that the camera’s shutter was open. The flow of water and the movement of the plant life swaying in the wind are blended together into a single moment. The result shows how time was bent into a surreal impression of the this scene.

Bending time is just one way that photography changes reality into art. Enjoy.