Last week I took delivery of my latest piece of equipment. It’s not a fancy new camera body, fast lens or even the latest version of Photoshop (although all of those are on my wish list). Never the less I do expect the new equipment will save me time and improve my photography.
So what’s this amazing, must have gizmo? Nothing more then a good old fashioned Grey Grad filter.
It often surprises people to discover that I still use filters on my camera. That’s probably because I enjoy using the powerful features that Photoshop offers. But despite the advantages Photoshop gives me, I still try to capture the best image possible in camera.
I’ve been using an old square Cokin grey grad filter for years, but as the quality of lenses I use has gone up, I’ve out grown the Cokin filter. I really have literally out grown it because it’s only just covers the front of my lenses. So my replacement is a large 100mmx125mm filter from Kood.
I’m pretty sure there are many newer photographers out there who have never used a grey grad filter. So here’s a quick Q&A session to explain what it does.
When do you use a grey grad?
Whenever you’re shooting landscapes and the sky is the brightest part of the image.
But isn’t that’s always the case?
Pretty much, yes.
How do I use it?
You place the filter in front of the lens and move it until the grey part covers the sky.
Do I need a special filter holder?
You can buy a filter holder, just make sure it matches the size of filter you bought. However I use a rapid attachment device, better known as my hand.
Why don’t you just take multiple images and do a bit of HDR?
I do, but if the grey grad is in my bag and it does the job, it saves a huge amount to time.
I’m happy doing the multiple photo method, do I still need a grey grad filter?
Not if you don’t want to.
OK, I’m interested, can I see and example.
Here you go. Here’s one I made recently.
OK I’m sold, where can I get one and how much does it cost?
I bought a Kood two stop ND Grey, cost around £20 from: http://www.crookedimaging.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=384
If moneys no object, you can buy the "pro" version by Lee filters for around £60 from here: http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-lee-neutral-density-0-6-soft-graduated-resin-filter/p1010470
Of course there are plenty of other suppliers for both filter types.
So there you go. If you’re wondering how the final image turned out have a look at the image below.