Experimenting

I wanted to see what two images of the same shot with different exposures would look like together. I wanted to use Photomatix's exposure fusion setting to see if I could bring back an overexposed shot. I know that my highlights are awful. But I think it was worth posting what I did. I don't have an ND filter. It would helpful with the long exposures that I desperately want to take. So I just took a long exposure at .5sec. That blew out the highlights too much. So I heavy-handedly brought the highlights down. That's why the sky has such a muted look.

This was all done really for the sake of what the water might look like.

Anyone have any recommendations for a solid, preferably cheap, ND filter?  I know that quality=price. But are there any out there that would go well with a Canon 17-40mm lens? 

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