Re­verse gear

Grad­u­ated fil­ters are of­ten used in com­bi­na­tion, but rarely like this…

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

01 Use a tripod

It’s always a good idea to use a tripod when shoot­ing through grad­u­ated fil­ters be­cause they need to be po­si­tioned very care­fully. This is es­pe­cially true with this par­tic­u­lar tech­nique, be­cause both the de­gree of over­lap of the fil­ters and their po­si­tion in the frame is im­por­tant.

02 Fil­ter se­lec­tion

Grad­u­ated fil­ters come in dif­fer­ent strengths and it’s always good to have a se­lec­tion. This Lee fil­ter kit comes with 0.3ND (one-stop), 0.6ND (two-stop) and 0.9ND (three-stop) fil­ters and you can use them in­di­vid­u­ally or in com­bi­na­tion – and that’s what we’re go­ing to do next.

03 Nor­mal com­bi­na­tions

The usual rea­son for us­ing ND grads in com­bi­na­tion is to cre­ate a stronger over­all ef­fect. If we put the 0.9ND and 03.ND fil­ters to­gether, as we’ve done here, you can see that they work to­gether to darken the sky much more than if ei­ther of them were used on its own.

04 Sky too dark?

If we use th­ese two fil­ters with our sun­set, they are about right for ton­ing down the sun on the hori­zon, but they make the sky above it much too dark. With sun­sets it’s a nar­row strip above the hori­zon that needs dark­en­ing, not the whole sky.

05 Re­verse one grad

Try turn­ing one of the fil­ters up­side down. As you move it across the other fil­ter, you’ll see a darker strip ap­pear where the grad­u­ated sec­tions over­lap. If you’re care­ful you can align this darker strip with the sun just above the hori­zon.

06 Switch to Live View

The ef­fect of grad­u­ated fil­ters is ob­vi­ous in the fin­ished pic­ture but not always easy to see in the viewfinder, so you may pre­fer to switch to Live View as you po­si­tion the grads. Take time over this, be­cause it’s hard to cover up mis­takes later.

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