Image: Lake Louise, Banff NP, Canon 5d,17-40 f4 L at 17 mm, 3 stop GND filter
Filters are still required in the digital age of photography, not as much as they where in the film days, but in order to get proper exposure on a lanscape that has a very wide dynamic range or to remove reflections from water, we still resort to using filters.
The main filter system in my bag is the Lee Graduated Nuetral Density filter or GND for short. The main task of these filters is to reduce the amount of light contacting the camera sensor while still being able to use the lens aperture you need. Graduated filters, as the name implies, start the transition from the center of the filter and graduate to the edge in varying degrees, measured in stops.
The top photo is an example of where a GND filter is needed, if a filter was not used and you where to meter on the sky the land would be under exposed or if you metered on the land the sky would have been over exposed, in this image a 3 stop filter was used to even out the overall exposure. The filters I use are made by Lee
I use the foundation kit
with 4 x 6 filters
, for wide angle I use there special wide angle hood
with one filter slot. I carry a 1, 2 and 3 stop GND a 3 stop reverse GND
and an 8 stop variable ND
. The reverse filter is for shots like a sunset or sunrise where the brightest part of the image is closer to the middle of the image. The variable ND is a great filter for shooting seascapes, this is a filter that I talked about in my previous blog.
Circular Polarizer: The CPL is another filter that is still required for reducing reflections and a good quality filter should be used to prevent color cast’s. B + W
is my choice, I use the slim 77mm and reducing rings when needed. These filters also increase the color saturation of trees and blue skys and add contrast to clouds, there should be one in every photographers bag. A word of caution on CPL and wide angle landscapes, if you have a lot of blue sky the CPL will only cover part of the sky and you will end up with un-even polarization that will ruin your image.