Using Filters In The Field
(soft piano music)
So we're here at the Chilliwack River. It's about late afternoon. So the light is still kind of harsh and the sky is reflecting down onto the river. So when you're shooting in these sort of conditions you're gonna want a polarizer. This is a circular polarizer. You're gonna want this when there's a lot of reflection whether it's off of a water surface, off of a plant's leaf, even the sky, anything like that that's gonna be shiny, the road, whatever you're shooting. So for this, my desired effect on the river here is to cut the glare. There's, the Sun is reflecting off there and I want to be able to cut in to see what's underneath. This will bring out contrast. It'll pop saturation as well as remove glare. So what I would recommend, if you have multiple lenses these can be pretty expensive. A good polarizer will be somewhere about 300 to 500 dollars. So I would recommend buying step-up rings. You can get these for pretty cheap and they'll fit onto different lens siz...
es. So this as a 24-70, and it has a 82-mil diameter which is set for this. But my other lenses, for example, has a 77. So I buy this, so I can screw this on and then put it onto a different lens without having to buy another polarizer because it just adds up fast. So I'm gonna demonstrate here. You're gonna screw this guy on top. It also darkens the scene. So this could act as if you have harsh or bright light and you want to be able to bring down your aperture. This is perfect for that as well. All right, so for this scene here, I really want to focus in on the water, kind of a minimal photo, just showing that, bring out that green and the rocks below it. So for this, I'm going to shoot a tight shot onto the water and use the polarizer to bring out the color to show the rocks underneath and to cut the glare. So right now the light's pretty harsh. So we're gonna just make the most of what we have. I'm gonna shoot the scene. The water is kind of doing a natural curve which is creating a leading line down the river. So I'm gonna frame it to kind of showcase the whole river and catch that light. It's a little harsh down at the far end. The highlights are really picking up on the water. So hopefully the polarizer will be able to kind of cut some of that glare and help us out with the shot. Without a polarizer, it would look a little something like this. The polarizer does darken the scene quite a bit. So you'd have to do that. You'd have to expose for either the highlights or the shadows. You'd probably have to blend it or just have a very exposed highlight image. With the polarizer, you're able to play around with how much of the glare you want to remove. You can either remove a little bit, a lot or all of it. So as I said, this will darken the whole scene. So you're gonna have to adjust your settings quite a bit to figure out what you want. If we have too slow of a shutter, we're gonna get a lot of movement in the image with the water. But if we want something really sharp we're gonna have to have a faster shutter speed, which means we maybe bump up our ISO a little bit and we bring down our aperture. The highlights are overexposed here. So we have to go a little bit darker but I can bring out those shadows in Lightroom. So here's a shot with and then here's a shot without. Circular polarizer, you definitely want to keep one of these in your bag. I always have one with me. You never know when you're gonna need it. It's great for cutting the glare off the surface of water, leaves, especially after the rain I'll get the glare off of that, any sort of pavement, anything that's gonna give you a reflection, windows, whatever it is you're gonna want to use one of these. It'll also help boost the contrast and the saturation and just definitely recommend you have one. All right, so for this scene, as you can see, the sky is really blown out and then the foreground and below is in the shadows. So it's kind of hard to create an overall image. You probably have to do some blending or anything like that. The nice thing about these bad boys, these filters. We got graduated filters and an ND filter. I'll show you how this can help make this scene one overall smooth, fully metered properly for one shot. So I believe any landscape photographer should have some sort of filter kit like this with NDs and graduate filters in their bag because they come in handy so many times. And this is a perfect example. When you have a really bright sky and a dark foreground, we want an overall, well-exposed image and that's where these puppies shine. So here I have a 0.9 ND soft graduated filter. You can see at the top it's real dark. And then at the bottom, it's clear you can either just hold this up to your lens. You might get it scratched up a little bit or, if you're patient and don't mind waiting a little bit, you can set up this holster here, which I'll show you, goes like that and then you just slide the filter in. It's got two slots and I'll show you how you can use them both in a second here. So we got our graduated filter in. We're gonna compose our scene. Now you're able to see, I can get the shadows in the bottom, highlighted and exposed properly as well as the highlights in the sky. The highlights in the sky in the shadows are now evenly exposed. And I will shoot for the highlights and then bring out the shadows afterwards. So it's always important to shoot for the highlights because it's harder to recover those in post than it is the shadows. So make sure your sky is well exposed and then the shadows you can deal with afterwards. Cool, so as you can see right now, we're exposed for the shadows, but the highlights are way blown out. So this is where the graduated ND filter comes in. I'm sliding it down and as you can see the sky is now in frame. And now I can focus on getting both the sky and the shadows equally exposed and metered properly. So you're gonna want to shoot for the highlights in this case, because you can recover the shadows a lot easier in post, whereas the highlights, they get blown out, it's digitized. You can't really recover them. So you want to shoot for the highlights and then bring out the shadows. So once again without, you can see it sliding down and that's width. All right, so graduated ND filter, super handy when you have mixed conditions, when your highlights are gonna be really strong and then your foreground is gonna be in the shadows. This will give you nice even exposed image. You can adjust it to however you like whether you got a lot of sky or a little sky. There's other cases when you can come in handy too. Definitely recommend having one of these. They can be a bit pricey, but one of those things that you're gonna wish you had if you didn't have it. All right, these are, it's not a variable. It's a constant ND filter. This is kind of basically like a welding glass. It's a really, really dark glass that's gonna block out as much light as they can. They come in different stops. This is a 10 stop. So you're gonna get 10 stops of no light basically. So you're gonna have to make up for that by 10 different stops, a stop could be an aperture. Maybe you're shooting from 2.8 to two plus 12. So this is gonna be your best friend when you want to shoot long exposures, especially in the daytime when there's a lot of Sun. It's kind of bright out but you want that movement in the water. You probably wouldn't get that effect in this kind of light conditions because you won't be able to go down to a slow enough exposure. So this is great for getting long exposures in the daytime whether you want clouds, water, people, cars whatever it is you want to shoot. This will be your best friend. I always have this with me as long, same with the ND, the variable ND filters. They are in my toolkit constantly because I'm always using them as landscape photographer. You're gonna, once again, wish that you had this in your kit if you don't. It's a bit of an investment, but that's kind of how photography is. You got to spend the money to get the shot sometimes. So when you're shooting any sort of long exposure where you want motion, that's obviously slowed down. You're gonna want one of these. Here's a few examples of shots that I've gone with this filter in particular. (gentle music) One crucial detail is make sure you know the thread size on your lens. All filters are gonna come in different sizes. You can either get one for each lens or you can buy step-up and step-down rings so that you can use the same filter for different lenses. So just to recap things, in my toolkit I have the circular polarizer, and then just the constant ND filters, and the grad filter. You can also get circular ND filters. The thing I don't like about those is especially in the cheaper ones, you can get some weird effects in the corners and the sides when you're using it. I prefer to go for these. The 10 stop is just essential for big, long exposures, especially during the day. Get a really dark scene that you can turn from a bright scene. It was a bit of investment. It took me a bit of time to save up to get all this stuff but it's worth it, 100%, you're gonna use it for the rest of your career, and you're gonna be so glad you have it in the moments that you don't. (gentle music)