Here's the irony....all of the ND grads can be replaced with a tipod and mutilple exposures and then a simple layers / mask blend in PS. In fact it's a better solution and offers a wider dyanic range. As a technique, it's also truely neutral with no colour balance issues....but the only filters which can't be replicated or improved upon in the digital space is a Polarizer....which Lee are now droppping....go figure!
Let me ask... How would multiple exposures work with a situation like this?
If you chose the right time to shoot your image, then you wouldn't need an ND grad:
Motion destroys Multiple exposures. It would be very hard to pull off without a ND grad and HDR would be useless.
If your at the right place at the right time, No need for HDR or ND Grads but that's not the point you brought out earlier.
I didn't mention it earlier....becuase it was pretty obvious.
I'm not sure if you are grasping the concept properly here....two shots taken with different exposures, one for the sky and one for the foreground. Motion is generally in the foreground (I'm talking landscapes here), so this can be captured with a specific shutter speed to render the amount of motion / movement needed to make the photo work. The sky, generally brighter usually needs a different exposure (or solid ND) to get either cloud movement or a sun star. These two files are loaded in to photoshop, over layed as layers and then using a large soft brush the lower or upper half is gently removed revealing a natural looking image without any loss of contrast. This takes second in photoshop and is a technique I've been using for well over 8 years.
Here is another example....lots of movement in this photo:
This image used a 5 stop range using two exposures.
You are welcome to look though my flickr photos and see a history of stong landscapes many using this technique. I used to use a lot of lee filters (I had all the grads, colour grads and stripe sets) but sold the lot and bought a very nice 16-35mm f2.8 II with the money! I only use a set of ND's and a single polariser now.
In many cases, being in the right spot at the right time of day provides the opportunity for the photographer to capture the contrast in the range of the camera's DR. But if not a simple two exposure burst with a 2 - 3 stop difference will do the trick. Sometimes more shots are needed.
I'm not really fussed if people don't belive me or not. I've a history of very strong photographs which I have taken with this technique...regardless of your opinion, it works, it's fast and it's produces better techniques (IMHO). I'm happy to share my experiences and techniques...but unfortunatly I think I am butting against people's opinion and website learnt mantra.
Here's another crossover image which was all in the DR of the camera....by being in the right place at the right time:
Naturally I was using a sturdy tripod and using careful Manual metering, and live view for focus accuracy