Digital SLR Photography - - The Beginner ’s Guide -

WITH THE IN­CEP­TION of dig­i­tal, many pho­tog­ra­phers thought op­ti­cal fil­ters might go the way of film and be re­placed with a dig­i­tal equiv­a­lent, but whilst some pos­i­tive ef­fects from fil­ters can be repli­cated in post- pro­duc­tion, there’s no sub­sti­tute for the real thing. Con­se­quently, since fil­ters are still a key part of a land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher's arse­nal, there's no short­age of op­tions for you to choose from – with dif­fer­ent types and styles to suit all bud­gets, im­age styles and pref­er­ence of ap­proach.

So where should you start? First up, you need a cir­cu­lar po­lariser ( turn to p62 for de­tails). This fil­ter alone cuts through glare on the sur­face of wa­ter and fo­liage, sat­u­rates colours and deep­ens blue skies. It's also dense enough to ex­tend your ex­po­sure times by up to two stops for cre­ative ef­fect.

Next should be a 0.3 and 0.6ND grad ( p64), which used in­di­vid­u­ally or to­gether will help en­sure de­tail in the sky is cap­tured in even the most ex­treme light­ing. But if silky wa­ter sur­faces and wispy wa­ter­falls are your goal, you'll want stan­dard or ex­treme ND fil­ters ( p66), some of which are ca­pa­ble of ex­tend­ing ex­po­sures up to 20 stops!

You also need to de­cide on the best sys­tem to suit your bud­get and work­ing prac­tice, whether it's screw- in or slot- in fil­ters, and fi­nally a brand. Cokin, Tif­fen, B+ W, Lee Fil­ters, He­liopan, Hitech, Hoya and Mirumi are among the most highly re­garded brands. Some, such as Tif­fen, Mirumi and Hoya, pri­mar­ily of­fer screw- in fil­ters while Cokin, Hitech and Lee Fil­ters are known for their bril­liant slot- in sys­tems. The choice of which to go for is yours…

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