Biting Flies vs. Neutral Density Filters

Biting flies and neutral density filters… natural opposites. Biting flies speed up a shoot, they quicken the pace, they ruin things. Neutral density filters slow down a shoot, they slow the pace, and, if used properly, they make a picture where there wasn’t one before. Get my point? Here is where the two intersect.

High Noon At Woodland Beach
High Noon At Woodland Beach

If a person has not experienced the number of biting flies the Delaware Bay coast line can support then they are lucky. Woodland Beach is about 15 minutes from Bombay Hook. Bombay Hooks is famous for its wildlife including its biting flies. So, what is the one thing besides your camera you should always take? Bug spray of course! What did I forget? Bug spray of course! I abandoned Bombay Hook and looked for additional photo ops and ended up here at Woodland Beach. The flies populated Woodland Beach as well, but when I spot a shot I am determined to capture it.

It is rare and almost taboo to shoot fine art color photography at noon. You lose the shadows and tone of light that can make a photograph pop. I decided to break the rules and lined up my shot. I added about 7 stops of neutral density filters to allow the water to smooth out and the blues to saturate in the final image. All the while the flies are swarming and attacking. Had anyone been watching they would have seen me doing a dance during the 8 second exposures. Sad thing is, I can’t dance. That is why I love being behind the camera, no silly videos of me trying to dance the flies off. So, if you go to Bombay Hook in the summer, just remember the bug spray. And neutral density filters.

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