Stack ’em up
Matt Tuffin reveals the secret to better beach shots: layer multiple filters
Why stop at a single filter, when you can combine them for brilliant effects?
Screw-in filters are all very well, but they’re limited to a single change or effect. Using a slide-in filter system enables you to stack multiple filters, so you can balance bright skies, blur moving water or clouds, and even polarise reflections, all at the same time.
When shooting early or late in the day, you’re often presented with a sky that is much brighter than the main, foreground landscape. This is where an graduated ND filter comes in: dark at the top and clear at the bottom, it darkens bright skies without affecting the exposure of the landscape below –and because you can slide them up and down, you can decide where to place the transition from dark to clear (see Step by Step below).
A full ND filter, meanwhile, darkens the whole image. To ensure a correct exposure, you need to set a slower shutter speed, which effectively enables you to blur moving water, clouds and more, even on bright days.
Using both sorts of filters at the same time might sound complicated, but you just have to do things in the right order. Here’s how it’s done...