learn and explore 18

Learn & Explore Series Episode 18

"How the right filter can improve your photography "

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Did You Know?

The combination of a warming polarizing filter and a hard-edged, graduated neutral density filter and a long exposure will allow you to still capture the remaining color after the sun has set.

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Did You Know?

During twilight when the full moon begins to rise, you can use a combination color filter to maintain natural color balance and sharp image resolution.

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Did You Know?

You can be more creative with your camera and rely less on post-production when you use graduated neutral density filters to compensate for the limited dynamic range of most digital cameras.

Special Thanks to
Industry Expert: Tony Sweet
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Questions covered in the above interview:

  1. A lot of photographers are under the impression that programs like Photoshop and Lightroom and plug-ins like Nik have eliminated the need for camera filters. Can you discuss that?
  2. Let's talk about those filters, starting with polarizers. What types of polarizers are there?
  3. In what situations would you use a polarizer – and any tips on getting the best results?
  4. There are several types of neutral density filters, from solid to variable to graduated. When would you use a solid neutral density filter and what types of images can they help you produce?
  5. There are various strengths of solid neutral density filters – 5-stop, 10-stop and now 15-stop. What do you use and how do you know which strength to use?
  6. You’ve taken some amazing pictures with solid NDs. Can you give us some tips on how best to use them? (camera settings; compose, focus and shoot without filter on to get correct exposure settings; turn off AF and put filter(s) on; Long Time app, etc.)
  7. What is a variable neutral density filter and in what situations would you use it instead of a solid ND?
  8. Are there different types of variable NDs?
  9. The filters we’ve talked about so far are all circular filters that attach to the lens. Why are graduated neutral density filters not circular, but rather are larger, rectangular filters you hold or mount in front of the lens?
  10. What's the difference between a graduated ND and a reverse graduated ND? And under what conditions would you use each?
  11. What is a strip filter and when would you use one?
  12. What size filters do you recommend? Do you use step-up rings?
  13. Some of these filters are pretty thick. Assume vignetting can be an issue when shooting with wide angles. How do you handle that? (when it becomes an issue, standard or thin mounts, etc.)
  14. Lots of the photographers in our audience have high-performance cameras and lenses and use a filter on their lenses to protect them. And I bet some in our audience, like me a few years ago, just went to the camera store and bought a $10-15 clear, UV or skylight filter. Same with the polarizer. Can you discuss that?

Photos by Tony Sweet using filters mentioned in interview:

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