I love the clouds in Florida! Living where I do, the central valley of California, I don’t get to experience too many days of great big puffy clouds. Our norm is, to use an Ansel Adams quote, “bald headed skies.” So when I come to Florida I like to take advantage of the clouds.
In order to photograph long exposures during the day you need a very strong neutral density filter. I recommend a 15-stop filter. With a 15-stop filter an exposure that normally would be 1/125 sec becomes a 4 minute exposure. I own 2 15-stop filters a Singh Ray 77mm screw in filter for my 24-105mm lens and a Haida 150mm square filter and filter holder that goes on my 15-30mm lens which has a curved front surface that does not allow you to screw on filters.
I did my first few long exposure images around West Palm Beach, while teaching workshops for Palm Beach Photographic Centre. I walked a few blocks down to the Intracoastal Waterway to make these images.
Kayaks, West Palm Beach, Florida 390 sec; f/14; ISO 100; 15mm; 15-Stop Haida Neutral Density Filter
Coin operated Binoculars, West Palm Beach, Florida 390 sec; f/16; ISO 100; 15mm; 15 Stop Haida Neutral Density Filter
Later that day I photographed a great sunset at Pine Glades Natural Area and took this image. Since it was getting dark when I made this image, there was no need for the filter. I was able to get a 60 sec exposure just by stopping the lens down to f/14.
Sunset, Pine Glades Natural Area, Jupiter, Florida 60 sec; f/14; ISO 100; 15mm
On Sunday when my classes were over, I went out to Boynton Beach because the clouds were so nice. I was thinking and did pay attention to the fact that it was a weekend and the beach would be crowded. There were lots of surfers in the ocean, but I knew they would not be an issue since they would blur out with the motion of the water during the long exposure. I made 3 images I like while I was there.
Rocks and pier, Boynton Beach, Florida 240 sec; f/16; ISO 100; 29mm; 15 Stop Haida Neutral Density Filter
Rocks and surf, Boynton Beach, Florida 240 sec; f/18; ISO 100; 29mm; 15 Stop Haida Neutral Density Filter
Rocks and people, Boynton Beach, Florida 240 sec; f/18; ISO 100; 29mm; 15 Stop Haida Neutral Density Filter
If you are interested in learning more about long daytime exposures and other creativity techniques check out these two workshops: