I ran an impromptu session recently for my Arcanum cohort on filters for landscape photography.
As part of that I went through some of my recent imagery to find some examples of the before and after affects of applying some of these filters.
I used the following three frames to highlight some of the effects of applying various filters. Primarily in this case the use Graduated ND filters to balance exposures and the use of a strong ND (Neutral Density) filter to significantly increase the length of an exposure during the day.
It is quite a bit after sunrise at Lurline Bay (tho it still isn’t even 7AM yet :)) but it’s bright and the sun is already rising fairly high in the sky behind us so Gerry and I have opted to add some heavy ND’s to the scene.
NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 19 mm, 1/3 sec at f/11, ISO 100
As I mentioned to my cohort for this image I have used:
– the CPL to really pop those white clouds off a nice blue sky and pop all those nice colours in the scene and improve overall contrast
– the two (2) stop Grad ND filter over the sky to darken the sky portion by two stops whilst not changing the foreground (land and sea) exposure – this is to more evenly balance the sky and land
I’ve stacked just the CPL and the 2 stop Grad filters with exposure settings (f/11 @ ISO 100) appropriate to get me a shutter speed somewhere in the 1/4 to 1 second range. With rapidly moving water as we have in this scene, shutter speeds in that ballpark range generally result in water with nice texture to it. Basically the fast flowing water turns streaky and the crashing wave motion gives us nice streaky white lines set against some deep greens of the water.
In the next image I’ve used the same two filters as above along with the 6 stop LittleStopper – this adds a significant amount to the shutter length and shooting at f/16 and ISO 50 I’ve added an additional two stops to take my exposure out to 76 seconds. With shutter speeds of this and much longer duration the fast moving water churning below me turns more to foggy mist. Whilst the slowly moving water further out where it’s just slowly rising up and down due to wave motion turns instead to a flat glassy lake. Finally the slow moving clouds in the sky turn to subtle streaks of white set against the blue.
So here I’ve stacked the Lee LittleStopper (6 stop ND) along with a 2 stop Lee Grad ND (Graduated Neutral Density) and the Heliopan CPL (Circular Polariser).
NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 19 mm, 76 sec at f/16, ISO 50
Two very different feels from the exact same scene and composition.
Lastly below I have the first test shot I took – this with no filters (except for the CPL I believe) and is the straight out of camera RAW image. You can see here in comparison with the shot above how the grad filter has worked to even the exposure between the sky and land.
Tell it to me Straight
NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 19 mm, 1/5 sec at f/11, ISO 100