03 Aug

Slovakia has many beautiful places, but the High Tatras are simply the High Tatras. Two weeks spent here offered me many photographic options. And of course challenges too! My primary goal was to try out the long exposure with ND filters to capture the fog and water.

But first things first! Let's see what I actually needed for this photo shoot. In the next picture you can see my complete equipment, which I originally intended to carry with me. You will find out right away what I really needed from that :)

I shoot with the Fujifilm X-T3 (and I love this camera) and I use two lenses: Fujinon 18-55 mm f2.8 -4 and 56 mm f1.2. Of course I have lens hood for both of them, but it wouldn't be me if I had not forgotten something at home ... so I didn't have the lens hood for the zoom lens (18-55mm) :) 

I have also an UV- filter (Hoya) on the 56mm lens. Furthermore, three batteries (one Fujifilm and two Patona Platinum) and two chargers (now I realized that I did not take pictures of them), tripod (completely ordinary, National Geographic), ND filters Hoya for the zoom lens (PROND8, 64 and 1000), Hama cleaning pen and microfiber cloth. And a bag/case, into which I can fit enough, but not all of this :) 

OK, and now imagine that you are going on a hike (e.g. to the Kôprovský peak, not to mention the ascent to Lomnický peak), you have packed a jacket in your backpack, maybe some spare clothes, food and water, a few other little things, you stuff most of the mentioned photo equipment there and the funny-tragic moment comes when you lift your backpack to test how heavy it is ... I'm not a professional athlete, but I try to run 5km regularly, I have some muscles, but honestly, this was too much :))) The question comes: what can I exclude from other things so that I don't have to take away anything from the photo equipment? So I'll give away the spare clothes, it probably won't rain, and even if ... Food, hmm, I'll pick one Horalka bisquit out, water - so maybe the smaller bottle is enough... You probably understand that this didn't change much on the scale, so the next step: the case/bag for the camera is quite heavy, and the 56mm lens is also not the lightest. So the camera ended up in such a thin cosmetic bag, only with the zoom lens. Better, so let's go!

And now for the long exposure. I used all three ND filters, depending on how much light there was. If it was completely cloudy, it was enough to use the ND8, if the sun was shining, then the ND1000. ND stands for neutral density, in short, neutral gray filters that let only part of the light into the lens and do not change the color. They are used mainly when the photographer wants to achieve the effect of passing time, to capture e.g. the atmosphere of running water, moving clouds, or light trails from moving cars. I mainly wanted to take pictures of waterfalls and moving fog. Managed to?

I don't take pictures on automatic, I set everything manually. Usually in these cases it was the lowest ISO (80), aperture (f) 5 - 20 (depends), exposure time 4-10s water and up to 30s fog (on Fuji, set T and then choose the desired time). At Fuji, I love the ease of setting these parameters and the ability to instantly see what's going on, on the display. You turn the command wheels and see what you set. Trial and error method.

Conclusion: I did not miss the 56mm lens during the hikes in the Tatras and at least I was able to concentrate on the long exposure with ND filters. Usually only one battery was enough for a full day hike, max. 2. The camera survived even without proper packaging, most of the time I still had it over my shoulder so that I didn't have to pull it out of my backpack all the time. It was possible even without the lens hood :) I tried the long exposure without a tripod too, e.g. I placed the camera on a rock (when I really didn't want to pull out the tripod), but I recommend using a tripod. In the future, I would definitely take a smaller and lighter tripod to the mountains (do you have any tips?). In the evening, I always cleaned the camera and the lens (once it happened to me that there was some dirt left and it unnecessarily ruined the photos). I am very satisfied with the ND filters, and also with the pictures. Let me know how you like it ...

And I understand why some people only take photos with their mobile phones :) But I believe that I have convinced you at least a little with the photos that it's a difference. And it's worth the extra pounds in the backpack!

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