Filters are used in photography to bring back an image to the way our eyes have perceived the original scene. Some times its not possible for our cameras to record an exact scene – so we have to rely on the manufacturers of camera products.
Filters also help us to create mood in our images and bring out the best in a scene. A small selection of filters is well worth packing when heading off for a trip. They don’t take up too much space and will definitely add a bit of spice to your images.
Filters work by being placed in front of your camera lens. You can also place several filters in front of your camera at any given time.
Lets take a look at the most important ones to use
Neutral Density Filters (ND): Neutral Density filters will certainly help you with tough exposures. These filters work by cutting down the light that reaches your lens. These filters come in a variety of strengths with the most popular being 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 – these filters will help with exposure without affecting color.
One half of these filters is dark and the other is completely clear. They basically work by reducing brightness. The different numbers stand for the amount of brightness they reduce – 0.3 ND reduces light by one stop – 0.6 reduces light by 2 stops – 0.9 reduces light by three stops.
Lets say you arrive at a high contrast scene, – you take a light reading of the sky and get an exposure reading of F/22 at 1/8 second; you take a reading from the ground in front of you and get a reading of F/22 at 1 second. This is a difference of three stops of light. You need to reduce the brightness of the sky. By using the 0.9 ND you will reduce the light in the sky by three stops without affecting the light hitting the ground in front of you.
Polarizing Filters: A polarizing filter should be top of the list – a polarizing filter can be used with color or black and white and is probably the most important filter on the market today. The polarizing filter will also darken the blue sky to give it a strong rich color. It will make mist stand out and can be also used to give fast flowing water a misty effect. This filter is most effective with side lighting.
Warm-up filters: In overcast conditions, don’t put your camera away. This is an ideal time for you to switch your attention to landscape detail. On an overcast day images often appear cold and dull. Try using a warm-up filter. These filters will remove the dull effect that you get shooting without the sun.
The 81-series are the best choice and will give your images an extra bit of life. An 81A warm-up filter is ideal to use in adding extra warmth to low light images.
Filters for B/W photography: Just because you use black and white film it doesn’t mean that you cant use filters – there are several filters for B/W photography. The polarizing filter is one of the few filters that work for B/W and color photography. It will help to darken shades of grey in your final print.
The red filter is one of the most popular. This filter will darken the sky giving your image more impact. The most common red filter is the number 25. Filters for B/W work by transmitting light of its own color, and holds back light of the other colors.
There’s a large amount of filters available; these are the most important filters for landscape photography.
There are also several filters on the market today that will do very little for your photography. Color graduated filters should be left at home or placed in the bin – color graduated filters work by creating un-natural colors, destroying your final print.
Improving Your Landscape Images Part 2
We use filters in photography to bring back an image to the way our eyes have perceived the original scene. Some times its not possible for our cameras to record an exact scene – so we have to rely on the manufacturers of camera products.
If you are only going to buy one filter for your landscape photography a polarizing filter is the one youll use most. A polarizing filter can be used with color or black and white and is probably the most important filter on the market today.
Lets take a quick look at the science behind it. A polarizing filter is made up of two pieces of glass which when rotated cut out all glare on non-metallic surfaces. Light travels in waves – these waves travel in all directions and at different rates and speeds. The polarizing filter works by limiting the amount of waves that enter your lens. You decide how many waves pass through your lens by rotating the filter.
The polarizing filter is most effective with side lighting.
For example: if you are taking a picture of a scenic lake area and there is a messy reflection of the clouds in the lake; it will be too much of a distraction in the final picture. This can be simply removed by rotating the polarizing filter until the clouds disappear. You can view the filter working in the viewfinder of your camera.
The polarizing filter will also darken the blue sky to give it a strong rich color. It will make mist stand out and can be also used to give fast flowing water a misty effect.
You don’t have to rotate the filter the full amount to get the maximum affect you need, sometimes you will only have to rotate it a small amount. You can decide best for yourself by viewing through your viewfinder while you rotate the polarizing filter.
This filter is not just for a landscape photographer.
There are many different uses for a polarizing filter, which make it so important for all photographers. Property photographers would find this filter extremely handy – when taking an image of a shop front, the polarizing filter will remove glare that reflects off the glass.
Take extreme care when calculating exposure. Remember that you will have to add two stops of light when using the polarizing.