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Blog date 27/04/2018
Filters, a bit old fashioned and one for that person who really wants to experience the moment. You can the digital types within Lightroom, Photoshop and many other editing software, but does that really connect you with nature? and the answer is no! you will never get the full sights, sounds and smells from software, on camera filters are really for the ones who's into getting out there, be it just for fun or for the professionals.
Filters are fun and you can go with your feelings, I often see photographers stating certain filter strengths for certain exposures but for me it's going for a certain mood with the skies and where I'm from the skies are the main subjects. it's let my creative side go nuts.
I've not been using filters that long, only for a few months but they are great fun and frustrating too, being a weather photographer I like to photograph in the rain and this effects the filters but I have come up with a plastic cover for the whole camera and filter.
Used to use Cokin P types but these created issues with colour-cast and not so Sharpe images, they good for everyday but I wanted more, so made my mind up and went for the Lee filters 100mm system, so after robbing the local bank lol, I ordered these rather expensive looking lumps for resin filters.
So in the bag
10 stopper (the big stopper)
0.9. 3 stop hard grad
0.6. medium 2.5 stop grad
0.9. soft 3 stop grad.
wide angle lens adopter and mounting kit.
The price of these filters is a bit on crazy side but do they work! well I love them! and the big stopper has a blue cast that does look really cool, it gives a mood all it's own.
The grad filters does give a very light purple cast when using the Canon 7D mk2 in manual WB but this is easily removed, have my own Lightroom presets which makes editing simple and fuss free, will go through this later.
My little setup
My way of using filters is to take a exposure of the ground first and will often use spot metering where there's a bright highlight, I'm a spur moment photographer so will go purely by feeling. I like to go by the mood and have no wish to turn morning into daylight!
So with the right exposure for the ground with the camera in full manual, no auto focus, no auto WB. I then find the composition that suits the subject, (working with nature and the art will appear in front of you!)
If shooting at dawn (before sunrise), a ground exposure reading at around -1 stop may well work first time. but it's down to you and the conditions.
When setting out on a filter landscape adventure I don't want to be dragged into the cameras world where you spend every second going over settings, why i only make a ground exposure, the rest is up to me to the amount of mood I want from the sky. I want to see the world around me to experience the moment and enjoy the nature
So for me Set up.
F4.5 - F16
Manual WB for dawn 6100 Kelvin is a good starting point but for early and I mean early ( when the night owls may get you!) 7100K or drop it down a bit for that blue hour look!
Mirror lock up if your camera has it!
Remote release of use on camera timer
and most important enjoy the moment, that is so key, it will almost make you blend in to the world around you, I Just love it and live for it!
By the way, the lenses I use are Canons 10-22mm wide angle and Sigmas 17-50 F2.8.
Dersingham Bog Norfolk
River nene & Guys head lighthouse Lincolnshire
Photographing the Fens
The Cambridgeshire Fens, with it's stunning big skies for some and a right (----) hole to me!
It's flat! it's boring! it's lifeless! but makes for the most moody photographs.
The mono above of Guys head lighthouse along the river nene Lincolnshire was taken using the 3 stop grad, it was around 2 stops over us with the filtered but doing this gives the right mood for my feelings, My feelings towards the Fens landscape is one of hate so I tend to see it as a mono only photo shoot!. The shot is handheld using the 17-50 mm lens, here I've used spot metering and pointing towards the brightest part of the water then just moved the filter into the right place. just one shot taken and shot for B&W only.
This is fun for me, the filters lets me control the mood in the skies, can make then so dramatic and turn the most basic countryside into a gritty and mood view.
Filters are fun and it really means you need to get out in nature to use them, being out the the big wide world is simply for me the best thing I could ever do, to me it matters not, if a shoot goes wrong and often they don't it can still be a wonderful time out, if it's walking in the dark to the spot I want it's the being there and seeing nature at dawn, you will be shocked at what you may see!