Balance the light
Learn how to use grads to control contrast and capture a full range of tones
1 FIRST ATTEMPT
This is how the scene appears when shot unfiltered. The camera cannot capture the full range of tones and the sky is overexposed, with no detail in the highlights.
2 CHECK HISTOGRAM
The distribution of tones are spilling over the right edge of the histogram. how far they are pushed over can indicate how much overexposure is present.
3 SELECT A FILTER
examine the scene to decide which type of grad will suit it best (see above tip). in this case, with a flat horizon and strong sunset, i selected a reverse grad.
4 FIT THE FILTER
Put the filter in the holder and position it so that it blends in with the horizon. Gently moving the filter up and down can help you to identify the transition line.
5 RESHOOT THE SCENE
shoot the scene again with the filter in place, using the same exposure settings. check the histogram and the image to make sure the grad is positioned accurately.
in most cases it won’t be necessary, but if there is any evidence of filter use – e.g. a dark band on the horizon – this can be corrected with selective adjustment tools.
FINISHED IMAGE THE FINAL, PROCESSED IMAGE SHOWS DETAIL THROUGHOUT THE TONAL RANGE, FROM THE DEEP SHADOWS TO THEBRIGHT HIGHLIGHTS IN THE SKY