Photography Hints – – Filters as important accessories

November 27, 2011 9:38 am Published by 2 Comments

           When it comes to nature photography or just outdoor photography in general, filters for your camera are important accessories. I do not recommend that you go overboard with them; however, there are three types of filters I always take with me on my trips to Presque Isle. They are: a skylight, a polarizing and a graduated.

           Why do I like them? Over the years, I have found that without a filter, a picture can look flat and too soft with muted colors, or even worse, it may have “hot spots.” Hot spots are usually created by glare from outside the picture frame. Many photographers do not take filters into the field and try to apply them later in the digital darkroom of Photoshop. I am not that good with a computer, so I carry the three above and get what usually are better results. I guess it’s a matter of how much time you would rather spend shooting the pictures or fixing the pictures. Besides, for some repairs or effects, there is NO fix within Photoshop.

        Why do I pick these three filters? Let’s discuss each separately and I will give you MY reasons for using on-camera filters but limiting this to just three. Each photographer must decide how he or she will handle the decision to filter or to not filter.

I have a skylight filter for each of my lenses. The main reason is to protect the front glass element from scratches or dings. For the most part, it produces no noticeable effect on my pictures. Some photographers think it reduces the blue cast in water scenes. I have not noticed this effect.

       I have and use a polarizing filter on three of my five lenses. I do not have one for my macro-lens that I use for close-ups of flowers, plants and other random items. Experience has shown me that I really do not need one for these lenses. I use this filter quite a bit. A polarizer can give a warming effect to an outdoor scene, and by its very nature reduces glare, or as many call them, hot spots. This glare reduction cannot be done in Photoshop. One wonderful effect of using this filter is the sky-darkening quality of the polarizing filter.

        The last filter that I have for just two of my lenses is a graduated filter. One is used on my 75-300 zoom lens and the other on my 18-80 zoom lens. This filter is dark on the top and gradually becomes clear on the bottom. I use them on really bright and sunny days where I want to darken the sky in my lake, bay and water photography. It is a helpful filter. However, you will need to learn hoew to work with it. Thank heaven, when composing a picture on your SLR or Digital SLR, you will be able to SEE the filter’s effect before you shoot.

         I use the filters one at a time and do not stack them. Some photographers do stack them. However, this practice may reduce the quality of your pictures.        

       See you on Presque Isle. Get that camera out and get shooting.


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  • James says:

    Well Ades, as you’ve stated in your post as well, a ipmsle way to take care of this issue is to simply add a number before the name of the filter.For example, if Partners is your most important one you can have it named 1Partners , if Social Media is your second most important one you can name it 2Social Media and so on.If you have more than 9 filters you want to keep on top you can replace 1Partners with 11Partners and 2Social Media with 12Social Media , for example, and you will have a way to sort up to 99 filters this way.Best wishes,Alan Johnson

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