Sunset over Fife

Sunset over Fife

On Point

Big stopper? Pah! There’s a quicker and easier way to get lovely long exposures without spending an arm and a leg on an expensive 10 stop ND filter. The above two photographs were taken with a piece of Welders Glass costing no more than £1.80. I’m pretty sure you could get it cheaper but for £1.80 who’s complaining? The one I’ve linked to measures in at 108 mm x 83 mm which is big enough to fit over a 17-40mm.

There are a variety of ways that you can attach this to your lens including using a filter holder. But the method I’ve chosen for now is using an old UV filter (without the glass so you’re just left with the ring) and fixing it to the welders glass using Blu-Tack or something similar making sure that you fill any gaps between the filter ring and the surface of the welders glass. The good thing about this method is you’ve reducing any chances of light leaks affecting your long exposure and you can attach your glass simply by screwing it onto your lens like any other lens filter.

The exposure settings for the above images are as follows:

Fields – ISO 640, f16, 146 seconds.

Church – ISO 640, f16, 300 seconds.

If I had enough time I’d have set the ISO to 100 of 160 and increased the shutter time and waited a bit longer but I was in a rush.

As a guide you can use the Lee exposure guide and then adjust from there as the welders glass isn’t precisely a 10 stop. Compose your photograph like you normally would. Take a reading without the filter and then based on your shutter speed apply the following rules with the filter on and remember to shoot in Bulb mode.

Normal Shutter Speed – With Filter

1000th – 1 second
500th – 2 seconds
250th – 4 seconds
125th – 8 seconds
60th – 15 seconds
30th – 30 seconds
15th – 1 minutes
8th / 2 minutes
1/4 – 4 minutes
1/2 – 8 minutes
1 second – 16 minutes
2 seconds – 32 minutes

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3 responses to “Welding Glass Long Exposures”

  1. Jing Law says:

    Looking good.
    Use Cokin ‘P’ square holder could be even simpler, what is the thickness of the welding glass?

  2. KJ says:

    Hi Jing, thanks for stopping by.

    I did think about using a holder but the glass is actually quite thick, around 3-4 mm. It doesn’t fit in the older holder I have. I’ve seen some people use other variations in a filter holder but the problem is that it lets in light, whereas with the blutack you can effectively fill any gaps around the filter ring and the surface of the glass.

  3. Matt A says:

    I’ve just ordered some welding filters from Weldsafe Ltd – not sure what colour-cast they’ll cause but they were 110 x 90mm which was the widest I could find in the 15mins I spent looking!

    Good tip on using an old filter ring – I need an 82mm ring and think I have a broken one.

    I’m thinking of sticking mine together using black silicone adhesive (DIY store) for a slightly more permanent solution.

    I suspect I won’t be able to go fully wide on my 16-35 but it’ll do for starters!

    Nice pics 🙂

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