Filters

UV, Polarizer, and Neutral Density Filters There are three filters that help to take a photographer from amateur level to professional and they are: UV, polarizer, and graduated neutral density. Each has its own purpose and benefit.

UV Filters

UV filters are probably the most purchased filters due to their main purpose of protecting
lenses. Is that all they do they do? To better answer this, it’s important to understand more clearly what UV light is. You can try some best lens for canon 80D in this pos.

The visible light spectrum runs from red to violet. Red light has the longest wavelength and violet light has the shortest. Light with a longer wavelength than red is called infrared, and light with a shorter wavelength than violet is called ultra violet or UV. The truth is, DSLR sensors today are not impacted by UV rays, making the UV filter’s primary role as protection against lens scratches from the elements of Mother Nature. Sand, sea salt, and dirt are concerns when doing landscape photography and it is a lot cheaper to buy a UV filter than a new lens.

Many photographers forgo a lens cap during a photo shoot, relying on the protection of the UV filter and not having to keep putting the lens cap on just to take it off again for the next shot. It is also easier and less worrying to clean the filter than to clean the camera lens, make sure you buy best slow motion camera for a better lens.

I recommend keeping a few filters on hand to trade out if one gets dirty, sandy, or wet, such as if on a photo shoot at the beach. It’s easier to take the dirty one off and clean it (carefully). Keep it simple by putting on a clean one and keep shooting.

Some photographers will pair a polarizer filter on top of their UV filter. I don’t recommend this because the odds of vignetting, especially with wide angle lenses, are increased, so it is better to switch the polarizer for the UV filter.

Polarizer Filters

Polarizer filters are a landscape photographer’s best friend. They help manage images in two big ways. One way is by enhancing the blues in the sky, and if clouds are present, they add a dramatic contrast. The other way is by cutting reflection and glare, such as on water or glass.
With polarizer filters, the results are best when the sun is at a 45-degree angle from the subject…or over the photographer’s left or right shoulder.
When the sun is directly casting down, even with rays, such as in this photograph, the polarizer filter won’t do much good. All the blues in this image are due to the car!

Photo Credit: Heather Hummel Photography

Polarizers are best used with dramatic skies and for reducing or enhancing reflection in bodies of water, such as in this pond reflection photograph.

Photo Credit: Heather Hummel Photography

Circular polarizer filters allow the photographer to turn the filter until the desired effect is achieved. Not all low light situations qualify for a polarizer filter, but it is one of the two filters I use the most. The other is the graduated neutral density filter.

Graduated ND Filter

A neutral density filter keeps the image from having the problem of either the dark parts being underexposed or the bright parts being overexposed.

Landscape and nature photographers are the most likely to use graduated neutral density filters. Graduated neutral density filters are clear on the bottom and slightly opaque on the top. They can be made with either an abrupt or a gradual shift in the middle, hence the name graduated. These filters shade the bright part of a scene to allow for a few effects. One is to shade the brightness, for example a sunset, to even out the foreground. This keeps the brighter half of the image within the dynamic range of the camera.

One word of caution is that neutral density filters work best where there is a fairly linear line, such as the horizon, between light and dark. Otherwise, even with the graduated part of the filter, a shadowing line will appear in the image.

A photo like this could be taken with a neutral density filter because there is a graduated line between the mountains and the sky, allowing for the graduated line of the filter to fade in. In this case, I shot it with the shaded side of the filter going across the sky.

Shading isn’t the only purpose of this filter. Photographing water to get the popular and beautiful dreamlike effect is another reason to use it. Since it slows the shutter speed, it acts as a shield that allows for the slower shutter speed without overexposing your image and letting the water blur into the milky effect. Rivers are a great place to explore using the graduated filter and setting slow shutter speeds. Here are some examples and their settings:

Note that the water becomes milkier with slower shutter speeds. It is a lot of fun to experiment with water and neutral density filters. By using these 7 Steps to Sunning Photos, you should see a dramatic improvement in your photography. Like anything that needs improvement, it takes time, practice, and experimenting, and I believe that every photographer grows with each press of the shutter release.

If this guide was helpful and piqued your interest in digging deeper into your DSLR, consider purchasing either or both of these books.

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