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Thread: Filters in the field

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    Filters in the field

    Somewhat akin to my question about traveling with medium format, I would like to know what you working photographers are currently carrying in terms of filters and whether there are any advocates for a particular system with MF, such as Lee or Cokin. There is much talk about carrying few or no filters (except for lens protection) because most everything these days can be accomplished in C1 or Lightroom, etc. Your thoughts?

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    Re: Filters in the field

    I use Lee filters, and carry a standard set of .6 and .9 hard and soft along with .6, .9, and 1.2 ND in the Lee case. I still prefer to get it right at the time, but I suspect that I am a member of a dying breed. Blending after the fact, leaves me cold.
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    Re: Filters in the field

    I am more or less the same as Jeff. Like to do it up front when is possible.

    I carry Lee 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 soft edge ND, a 0.9 ND specifically for water fall / seascape type of shots, a Tiffen 812 and a polarizer for removing unwanted reflection.

    I found that it is a lot easier for me to tweak the images in the post process using filters when taking the shots than trying to "create" the effects in the post process without using ones.

    Thomas

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    Re: Filters in the field

    With digital, I simply don't find a need for filters other than ND's and I carry 2, a 3 stop and a 6 stop to cotton moving water. I recently even pulled the Polarizer out of my bag due to non-use.
    Jack
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    Re: Filters in the field

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    With digital, I simply don't find a need for filters other than ND's and I carry 2, a 3 stop and a 6 stop to cotton moving water. I recently even pulled the Polarizer out of my bag due to non-use.
    Interesting. Jack, you don't feel the need for graduated ND's in your bag anymore? How are you dealing with scenes where the exposure differs by multiple stops? Do you feel that programs like Photomatrix have pretty much eliminated the need to carry these filters around?

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    Re: Filters in the field

    I have a Polarizer and a ND filter and that is about it. If I run into a bad situation than I will do HDR but lately I have done very little with that. Color editor in C1 is very useful in raw processing and use that quite often when working with sky scenes.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: Filters in the field

    Add me in the group of those still using filters:

    - polarizer, ND & grad ND (0.6 & 0.9) for everything, plus specifics:
    -- yellow, orange, red & green for film BW;
    -- B/Y polarizers for color (film & digital);

    I kinda think that all can be done in PP except ND, grad ND (you can get close with HDR but that is not always feasible, according to subject matter), polarizer...
    Vieri Bottazzini
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    Re: Filters in the field

    There is no point, to me, in insisting that the only right way to work is to put all the creative control into the image capture. Film and digital capture medium differ enormously when it comes to considering when and what kind of creative control you have: this should be taken into account when considering what kinds of filters and such are necessary.

    When I was shooting film, I carried B&W filters (deep blue through deep red), color adjustment filters (warming, cooling, Tungsten and Daylight conversion) as well as NDs, polarizer, and occasionally effects (soft focus, light crostar, etc). The creative rendering control with film is mostly up-front, at capture time, so it is important to get it as close to dead-on as possible in the camera in order to deal with the constraints of what can be done in the darkroom.

    Now shooting digital capture, I have abandoned all filters except for occasional use of NDs, polarizers, and specialty filters like IR-pass. The purpose of a camera in digital capture is to capture as much data as possible for rendering, which is a matter of exposure control rather than tonal/color adjustment, and the vast majority of creative control is in the image rendering process after the fact of capture.

    Keeping in mind the characteristics of the entire imaging process leads to the best use of filters and other techniques.

    BTW, I only rarely fit any filter for "protection" purposes. Only in driving rain, in blowing grit and sand, in flying mud and other miserable circumstances when maximum image quality is impossible anyway do I use a clear glass filter to protect a lens from the elements. A rigid lens hood, bayonetted or screwed into the front bezel of the lens, is far better protection and minimizes flare rather than increases it.

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    Re: Filters in the field

    Quote Originally Posted by cerett View Post
    Interesting. Jack, you don't feel the need for graduated ND's in your bag anymore? How are you dealing with scenes where the exposure differs by multiple stops? Do you feel that programs like Photomatrix have pretty much eliminated the need to carry these filters around?
    I make it after the fact in CS. Depending on the image, I may actually process out two versions of the raw, or if a very difficult lighting scene, will take two captures. However with MF if you have not excessively clipped any channel, I can usually adjust down a regular copy layer to get the effect I want. Bottom line is all you need to do is then "select" the sky area you want to darken (or multiply) then feather the edges for a smooth transition.

    The main advantage is my ND horizon now matches the contour of the real horizon in my image, and the effect is less visible than a straight-line SND effect. the next advantage is you can edit the effect easily after the fact, getting hue, sat and brightness all balanced to your liking. We teach this on the workshops, and it is easy once you get the hang of it.

    For this image, I used a duplicate layer on a single image in CS, selecting the sky and darkening it and exaggerating it a bit more than I normally would for a print to more clearly show the effect:

    Jack
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    Re: Filters in the field

    I should have added that sometimes i still balance my strobes to ambient and this truly depends on the source and what i may run into and what dominant light I need to adjust too. No hard rules here, just experience. Usually in these situations I am tethered and I can see what i am up against. Bottom line it's always problem solving.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Filters in the field

    I still carry ND filters (for movement of water or other subjects) and polarizer for water surface reflection control. And I do carry some soft grads. but rarely use them anymore. Like Jack, I do prefer the results of blending when horizons are not a straight or nearly straight line.

    I'm pretty conservative (probably too conservative) with post. It still rubs me kinda wrong to do post work that goes much beyond what one does (or did) in a wet darkroom. But for managing exposure of wide-DR images, do it in post often gives better results IMHO.
    Last edited by Dale Allyn; 5th April 2010 at 09:16.

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    Re: Filters in the field

    Than I will do some things that not many people will do and is pull out the lights and light the damn place up.

    FYI I am finding myself going back and reprocessing images with this wide gamut monitor . I did this one this morning and I am here screaming WOW. Should have bought this thing last year.

    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Filters in the field

    Guy and Jack, damit I wish I was on the Oregon Coast workshop with you guys what great images.

    -Steven
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    Re: Filters in the field

    Beautiful images! Thanks for the input. You guys are talking a little over my head. That's why I need to take one of your workshops.

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    Re: Filters in the field

    Love to have you.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Filters in the field

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Than I will do some things that not many people will do and is pull out the lights and light the damn place up.

    FYI I am finding myself going back and reprocessing images with this wide gamut monitor . I did this one this morning and I am here screaming WOW. Should have bought this thing last year.

    Guy,

    Would you please elaborate a tad. Light is everything in landscapes. Was that shot P30+, P40+ or what back, and what specifically with wide gamut do you feel helped you render more light and/or "sweet" color in the final image?

    Thanks

    Regards
    Anders

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    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Filters in the field

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Than I will do some things that not many people will do and is pull out the lights and light the damn place up.

    FYI I am finding myself going back and reprocessing images with this wide gamut monitor . I did this one this morning and I am here screaming WOW. Should have bought this thing last year.

    Even with my crappy monitor, this re-rendering of the image is indeed nicer.

    Fantastic stuff, Guy.

  18. #18
    DougDolde
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    Re: Filters in the field

    I used a polarizer and nd grads a lot shooting 4x5 transparency film but with the Aptus they don't get much if any use. Still carry them probably will use a grad someday.

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    Re: Filters in the field

    Quote Originally Posted by Anders_HK View Post
    Guy,

    Would you please elaborate a tad. Light is everything in landscapes. Was that shot P30+, P40+ or what back, and what specifically with wide gamut do you feel helped you render more light and/or "sweet" color in the final image?

    Thanks

    Regards
    Anders
    Sure. Keep this one under your hat.

    First it is a P30+ ISO 100 1/2 second F16 28mm lens

    Here is the original image without anything done. What I did at the time of shooting since this is very early morning was use a Elinchrom Quadra pack with 400 ws with a open flash to lighten up the foreground so i could keep the exposure for the sky without blowing and also add in needed light to the rocks and foliage. The rest of the process is all done in C1 with raw processing and this is the stuff we teach on the workshops is how to pull this all together in C1 with all the tools available including maybe one of the most important ones color editor. Here you can select a color and fine tune the exact color or actually spread the base of that color to different tones in that same color. This allows very fine control over the images and i can select any and all colors in the image and fine tune them to my specs or taste.

    Now what you are not seeing on your monitors that are not wide gamut is simply put a compressed version of the color space ( srgb). What I see even in the deepest shadows and highlights is a complete tonal range that matches the Adobe RGB color space. Now when i am looking at my MF files i am seeing basically the complete visual image of the full color space these backs can capture. Also this will match the RGB color space of the printer. So no guessing pretty much although the backs is still wider than the printer it is much closer visually to the printer than working with a SRGB monitor like a ACD 30 let's say. If I did a B&W step wedge I could actually count the steps. With a SRGB monitor it would be a lot more compressed range.

    Hope that helps. This is the original file coming into C1 before any raw processing. So basic lesson here learn how to raw process. Pick one you like as far as software and stick with it. As you can see what it was and what it is . I can't drill this one home enough but you also need to get it to the sensor first so you can work it.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Filters in the field

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    Even with my crappy monitor, this re-rendering of the image is indeed nicer.

    Fantastic stuff, Guy.
    Thanks it helps me process better as well since I can see the full tonal range now. Landscape to me is total creative processing. There are no rules to follow you go by what you like.

    So bringing this back to filters , really for me it is for water and now that less extra ISO 50 stop on the P40+ helps even more. So I really like having the ISO 50 now
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Filters in the field

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Sure. Keep this one under your hat.

    First it is a P30+ ISO 100 1/2 second F16 28mm lens

    Here is the original image without anything done. What I did at the time of shooting since this is very early morning was use a Elinchrom Quadra pack with 400 ws with a open flash to lighten up the foreground so i could keep the exposure for the sky without blowing and also add in needed light to the rocks and foliage. The rest of the process is all done in C1 with raw processing and this is the stuff we teach on the workshops is how to pull this all together in C1 with all the tools available including maybe one of the most important ones color editor. Here you can select a color and fine tune the exact color or actually spread the base of that color to different tones in that same color. This allows very fine control over the images and i can select any and all colors in the image and fine tune them to my specs or taste.

    Now what you are not seeing on your monitors that are not wide gamut is simply put a compressed version of the color space ( srgb). What I see even in the deepest shadows and highlights is a complete tonal range that matches the Adobe RGB color space. Now when i am looking at my MF files i am seeing basically the complete visual image of the full color space these backs can capture. Also this will match the RGB color space of the printer. So no guessing pretty much although the backs is still wider than the printer it is much closer visually to the printer than working with a SRGB monitor like a ACD 30 let's say. If I did a B&W step wedge I could actually count the steps. With a SRGB monitor it would be a lot more compressed range.

    Hope that helps. This is the original file coming into C1 before any raw processing. So basic lesson here learn how to raw process. Pick one you like as far as software and stick with it. As you can see what it was and what it is . I can't drill this one home enough but you also need to get it to the sensor first so you can work it.
    Guy,

    Thanks for a very good explanation. I do same in Capture 1 5.1.1 approach being new to C1. Actually for my Leaf Aptus C1 has given me impression of having a new camera. More Leaf users should try it. Unlike Camera Raw C1 feels as an extension of my brain (=less technical thought more focus on art). Leaf have their ICC profiles included in C1 5.1.1, intended for portrait but they work with interesting colors etc also for landscapes. I would assume that C1 has for Phase One for their backs also.

    It appears that I will have to consider one of those monitors in near future!

    If I can give one suggestion in return and for others reading; considering the fact that we are for fact attempting recreate the light and color from the raw files, one place to learn is from painting arts. I am on my choice of #2 book of 5 of painting. This does not mean that I am painting, but there are parallels to painted art and processing RAW.

    Again thanks!

    Regards
    Anders
    Last edited by Anders_HK; 5th April 2010 at 22:39.

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