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Old May 15, 2007, 9:02 AM   #1
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I am a little confused as to which filters to get for my camera (D40) I have a UV and will probably get a PL - that much is simple. I want to get a neutral density filter, my main subjects tend to be landscapes or urban work, with a leaning to former. I am thinking a graduated neutral density because I am struggling to get a balanced exposure - if I get the subject exposure right I am tending towards a washed out sky. This obviously diminishes when shooting with the sun over my shoulder but this is not an option when you are shooting the coast etc. Is it worth getting a plain neutral density (i.e. not graduated) for those times when you have to shoot at midday because of travel restrictions. All help will be gladly received!!!

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Mark
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Old May 15, 2007, 9:51 AM   #2
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the shot will look the same with a full nd filter on as it did without it, it just allows u to shoot at lower speeds by stopping the light a little.

gradiant nd would work better, but there is a lot can be done with editing too, to get best from sky and land 2 photos merged is the way i go, one with sky exposure other with land

gary
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Old May 15, 2007, 10:33 AM   #3
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Plain ND filters are used when you want slower shutter speeds or shallower depth of field than the lighting condiotions allow. If you are shooting on a bright summer day you may be hard put to get the combination of shutter speed and aperture you want and still maintain proper exposure.

Example would be shooting a waterfall or rapids in a river and you want the moving water to blur so you want a slow shutter speed. Another example would be an outdoors protrait and you want shallow depth of field to drop out the background.
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Old May 15, 2007, 3:06 PM   #4
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markgelder wrote:
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... I am thinking a graduated neutral density because I am struggling to get a balanced exposure - if I get the subject exposure right I am tending towards a washed out sky. ...
That will only do you much good when the transition is a straight line - somewhat limited usefulness. See the tutorial at http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...xposures.shtml for another technique.
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Old May 15, 2007, 4:09 PM   #5
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BillDrew wrote:
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markgelder wrote:
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... I am thinking a graduated neutral density because I am struggling to get a balanced exposure - if I get the subject exposure right I am tending towards a washed out sky. ...
That will only do you much good when the transition is a straight line - somewhat limited usefulness...

That hasn't been my experience. There are two kinds of GNDs. One kind has a sharp "horizon line," and basically assumes exactly the kind of use condition that Bill mentions. However, most GNDs are gradual filters -- they spread the transition across about the middle third of the filter. Perhaps surprisingly, these filters are quite forgiving. I don't notice a "band" in the transition region, whether the skyline is a sharp straight line or a jagged edge. I find this type of GND is widely useful for doing exactly what the OP wants.


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Old May 15, 2007, 10:21 PM   #6
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tclune wrote:
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... There are two kinds of GNDs. One kind has a sharp "horizon line," and basically assumes exactly the kind of use condition that Bill mentions. However, most GNDs are gradual filters -- they spread the transition across about the middle third of the filter. ...
I am sure you can find all kinds of variations in GNDs: in particular those that can be slid to move the line (sharp or any degree of gradation) so it doesn't sit exactly in the middle of the image.

However none of those will deal with the issue illustrated in the tutorial at Luminous Lanscape. So I contend that the better, or at least more general, solution is software instead of GNDs.
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Old May 18, 2007, 1:23 AM   #7
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However the draw back to that is it pretty much demands a tripod, so the two frames match exactly, not always a practical or even possible thing, and certainly often inconvenient.
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Old May 18, 2007, 8:38 AM   #8
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Hayward wrote:
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However the draw back to that is it pretty much demands a tripod, so the two frames match exactly, not always a practical or even possible thing, and certainly often inconvenient.
Carrying a camera is often inconvenient as well :-) A tripod almost always improves a shot and I should use one much more often.

It can be done without a tripod either by using panorama stitching alignment techniques or by shooting in raw and "developing" two images: one for highlights and one for shadows. How good the alignment has to be depends on the subject.

Beyond the more general aspect of blending vs of GND filter, my point is that there are at least two techniques for dealing with wide exposure ranges. As with many things in photography, there is no single right way to do it.
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Old May 18, 2007, 11:46 AM   #9
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I tend to agree with Drew on this.

First - the notion that a tripod is too inconvenient is untrue. A tripod will improve quality - period. It isn't just about keeping the camera steady. It's about planning a shot and not just reacting.

I've also used the second variation Bill suggested - shoot raw and do 2 separate conversions. Works great but you still have a limited range - so if the initial image has a dynamic range too great this variant of the technique won't work.
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Old May 18, 2007, 1:04 PM   #10
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Hayward wrote:
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However the draw back to that is it pretty much demands a tripod, so the two frames match exactly, not always a practical or even possible thing, and certainly often inconvenient.

no you dont needa tripod and u dont even need 2 shots to start with but it makes it easier


u can get it near enough by hand, point camera at sky get light reading, half hold button to lock the exposure the frame shot and take, now take another straight away, blend in photoshop after aligning of course if u need to, whic is easy as u just make top layer transparnet and use arrow keys to nudge into place

or u can use original image make a layer copy darken it and blend over light one

i never ever use a tripod except for night shots even panos are hand shot

Gary

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