Traditional Filter Recommendations
Photography Tip for April / May 2010
Though digital technology has taken photography to a whole new level, and in some cases have left a few 'tools of the trade' behind, the need for filters has not changed. Filters are important to control light temperature, reduce reflections and assist in light balance. So this month, I'll share some filters that even the "weekend photographer" should consider as valuable additions to their tool bag.
UV filters (Ultraviolet) were used to cut down haziness on film based cameras, many digital sensors really aren't sensitive enough for them to be very effective, however they are wonderful protection for your expensive lens. All of us Pros use UV filters on our lens, because it’s more cost effective to replace a scratched or damaged filter than a lens with damaged optics. Be sure to invest in a high quality UV filter so that you are not degrading the quality of optics your expensive lens offers.
Color Correction Filters:
All light sources have a temperature value and in photography these values are measured in degrees Kelvin (K). A household light bulb measures at approximately 2500k, whereas bright sunshine on a clear day would register approximately 6000K. For photography, this means that the color of light as the camera registers it, changes with the temperature of the light. There are warming filters and cooling filters, known at the 80 & 81 Series which can warm the color of a photograph taken at noon, or cool orange tint of a photograph taken in ambient light. There are also color filters for black and white photography to change the tonal value of subjects that would otherwise both render the same shade of gray. So much to learn about color correction filters in photography, that I recommend you do some research on your own and determine what color correction filters would serve you well. For example; if you photograph a fair amount with florescent light being your only light source, your photographs will have a green tint to them and to correct for that you would use a filter from the magenta family to remove the green cast from the light. So...off you go to learn more and find out what filters in this family would be something you’d like to keep in your camera bag!
The practical applications of polarizing filters in photography are to reduce of eliminate glare and reflections from non-metallic surfaces such as; windows and water. However another benefit of the Polarizing Filter is the ability to dramatically enrich the color of the sky, saturating the blues to receive a more enhanced sky that fits better with the saturation of other elements in the photograph. There are two types of polarizing filters, circular and linear. Basically the circular polarizer is the one to choose if you use the metering system in the camera to establish exposure. If you shoot with a camera where you set the exposure manually, use the linear filter. If you have never used or purchased a Polarizing Filter, then you need to do some homework to make an informed choice when purchasing and using these filters. This is not a filter you just put on your camera lens and magically get great results.
Neutral Density Filters:
The ND filters are a great tool when you need that extra help to reduce the amount of light that reaches the camera. The Neutral Density filter allows you to use a larger aperture for a longer exposure. A good example of this is when you need to slow the shutter speed down to capture the soft velvety effect of moving water, even though you are in bright daylight. When you can't turn down the sunlight, pull out the ND filter.
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