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How To Use Nd Filter For Perfect Landscape Photography – A Complete Guide
When practicing landscape photography, you may notice unbalanced exposure in your image, with correct amounts of lightness and contrast only in some portions of the photograph. This is where you need a neutral density filter or its graduated version (GND filter), which is designed to bring detail out in washed out or overexposed areas of your image.
As a landscape photographer, an ND filter is one of the most important items you should have in your tool kit. This type of filter essentially stops light from entering the camera’s lens and hitting its sensor. They fit perfectly right in front of a digital SLR’s lens, using the right adapter. There are also ND filters that can be clipped on the right inside of the camera body, while the adapter holding the ND filter requires a ring that fits onto the lens of the camera. Most neutral density filter makers manufacture rings in 49mm to 82mm varieties. These filters typically look like squares of dark glass, built to help neutralise and control the amount of light entering the camera lens.
There are also graduated ND filters, which are mostly used for shooting sunsets. These are sort of selective neutral density filters that only bring down light in the area of the scene where the sun is. Some manufacturers likewise sell ND filters in packages—which means that you can buy an ND filter along with the proper adapters and rings together in a neat set.
ND filters are typically quantified according to optical density or in simpler terms, their f-stop reduction. For instance, an ND16 filter is designed to lower your f/stop by a total of 4 stops. This way, you can have your shutter speed in a slower setting for a much longer exposure time, which is required to achieve certain photographic effects. Graduated neutral density filters are basically ND filters with a gradient. They start at their darkest at a certain length and get lighter until the mid-section of the glass. The rest of the glass isn’t filtered, which allows for selective filtering of images (such as for sunsets and sunrises) so you can keep the rest of your landscape scene untouched.
Ben Noori is Head of sales at Camera Warehouse, located in Tempe, New South Wales, Australia is a leading retail and online store for the digital camera, camera accessories and camera lenses. Camera Warehouse is 100% Australian controlled business that sources all stock from Australian suppliers and provides a genuine manufacturer's warranty on every item.
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