December 18, 2017, 08:07:43 AM

Author Topic: Landscapde filters and systems  (Read 3422 times)

scottkinfw

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Landscapde filters and systems
« on: October 22, 2017, 02:31:03 AM »
Hi all.

I'm going to Zion, Antelope Canyon (second time), and Monument Valley after Thanksgiving (2017).

I now have a Cokin system with a few ND Grads but I am interested in opinions from people who use other systems.  I would like to upgrade/round out the filters, but not waste my money on things I will never use. 

I would especially like to know about reverse ND Grads, opinion on a regular ND (brand, how many stop reduction), perhaps a color enhancement filter for evening, and maybe a warming filter for all of the red rocks during the day when lighting is sub-optimal.

I have been reading reviews and get so many conflicting opinions, I don't want to pull the trigger until I hear from real people from CR.

Thanks so much.
Scott

Cameras: 1DXII,5D III, 5D II.  Lenses    24-70 2.8L II IS, 70-200 f4L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, EF 400 5.6L, 300 2.8 IS II, Samyang 14 mm 2.8.   Flashes: 600EX-RT X 2, ST-E3-RT, 580 EX II.
Plus lots of stuff that just didn't work for me

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Landscapde filters and systems
« on: October 22, 2017, 02:31:03 AM »

geekpower

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Re: Landscapde filters and systems
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2017, 04:34:20 PM »
for that bright red rocks against deep blue sky look you'll want a CPL

ahsanford

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Re: Landscapde filters and systems
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2017, 05:13:06 PM »
I'm Lee (100mm system + rectangular filters) and B+W (anything circular) in my landscape setup.

For all three of those destinations, you are going to be saddled with erratic horizons between the rocks and sky.  Zion Canyon in particular is a hot mess for this.  So my ND grads did not come out of my bag at Zion once when I went last year.  See attached -- these are hiking handheld single exposures heavily heavily massaged in post, but it should give you an idea of the contrast management challenge Zion represents.

I've not done AC or MV myself, but I believe a similar phenomenon will exist:  compositions there likely will have glaringly bright light in odd shapes in 'difficult to grad' positions.  In those circumstances, composition permitting, capturing multiple shots and compositing in post is preferable over fighting through grad use.

A CPL is a hammerlock must for skies or water reflections so I always bring multiple ones -- one for traditional on-lens use (77mm B+W Kaesemann) and another much larger 105mm CPL (also B+W) to screw-in in front of my Lee holder setup.

As for NDs, I only use them for waterfalls or cloud motion and they don't come out that often, but MV would scream for an ND if you get some clouds*.  I either rely on the natural 2-ish stop I get from a CPL or go big with a 10 stop.  Others prefer to season NDs to taste based on what they are trying to do compositionally.   

*From a landscaper friend of mine and occasional poster here:  http://www.astro-landscapes.com/monument-valley-sunrise-long-exposure-copy/

As for warming / color cast filters, I defer to the forum as I do not use them.

- A
« Last Edit: October 23, 2017, 06:10:52 PM by ahsanford »

scottkinfw

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Re: Landscapde filters and systems
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2017, 05:30:50 PM »
for that bright red rocks against deep blue sky look you'll want a CPL

Absolutely, and thank you.

Scott
Cameras: 1DXII,5D III, 5D II.  Lenses    24-70 2.8L II IS, 70-200 f4L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, EF 400 5.6L, 300 2.8 IS II, Samyang 14 mm 2.8.   Flashes: 600EX-RT X 2, ST-E3-RT, 580 EX II.
Plus lots of stuff that just didn't work for me

scottkinfw

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Re: Landscapde filters and systems
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2017, 05:40:57 PM »
I'm Lee (100mm system + rectangular filters) and B+W (anything circular) in my landscape setup.

For all three of those destinations, you are going to be saddled with erratic horizons between the rocks and sky.  Zion Canyon in particular is a hot mess for this.  So my ND grads did not come out of my bag Zion once when I went last year.  See attached -- these are hiking handheld single exposures heavily heavily massaged in post, but it should give you an idea of the contrast management challenge Zion represents.

I've not done AC or MV myself, but I believe a similar phenomenon will exist:  compositions there likely will have glaringly bright light in odd shapes in 'difficult to grad' positions.  In those circumstances, composition permitting, capturing multiple shots and compositing in post is preferable over fighting through grad use.

A CPL is a hammerlock must for skies or water reflections so I always bring multiple ones -- one for traditional on-lens use (77mm B+W Kaesemann) and another much larger 105mm CPL (also B+W) to screw-in in front of my Lee holder setup.

As for NDs, I only use them for waterfalls or cloud motion and they don't come out that often, but MV would scream for an ND if you get some clouds*.  I either rely on the natural 2-ish stop I get from a CPL or go big with a 10 stop.  Others prefer to season NDs to taste based on what they are trying to do compositionally.   

*From a landscaper friend of mine and occasional poster here:  http://www.astro-landscapes.com/monument-valley-sunrise-long-exposure-copy/

As for warming / color cast filters, I defer to the forum as I do not use them.

- A

Thank you Ashanford.

You are right about Antelope canyon.  It would be great if some sort of grad was shaped like a triangle on an otherwise clear substrate so the bright part could be reduced while not touching the darker areas of the canyon.

I think Monument valley will be mainly flat with "monuments" sticking up, so grads will be useful- either for foreground, or maybe sky, hence the possibility of a reverse ND Grad.

By "compositing" do you mean shooting hdr?

Thanks.
Scott

Cameras: 1DXII,5D III, 5D II.  Lenses    24-70 2.8L II IS, 70-200 f4L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, EF 400 5.6L, 300 2.8 IS II, Samyang 14 mm 2.8.   Flashes: 600EX-RT X 2, ST-E3-RT, 580 EX II.
Plus lots of stuff that just didn't work for me

scottkinfw

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Re: Landscapde filters and systems
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2017, 06:04:14 PM »
I'm Lee (100mm system + rectangular filters) and B+W (anything circular) in my landscape setup.

For all three of those destinations, you are going to be saddled with erratic horizons between the rocks and sky.  Zion Canyon in particular is a hot mess for this.  So my ND grads did not come out of my bag Zion once when I went last year.  See attached -- these are hiking handheld single exposures heavily heavily massaged in post, but it should give you an idea of the contrast management challenge Zion represents.

I've not done AC or MV myself, but I believe a similar phenomenon will exist:  compositions there likely will have glaringly bright light in odd shapes in 'difficult to grad' positions.  In those circumstances, composition permitting, capturing multiple shots and compositing in post is preferable over fighting through grad use.

A CPL is a hammerlock must for skies or water reflections so I always bring multiple ones -- one for traditional on-lens use (77mm B+W Kaesemann) and another much larger 105mm CPL (also B+W) to screw-in in front of my Lee holder setup.

As for NDs, I only use them for waterfalls or cloud motion and they don't come out that often, but MV would scream for an ND if you get some clouds*.  I either rely on the natural 2-ish stop I get from a CPL or go big with a 10 stop.  Others prefer to season NDs to taste based on what they are trying to do compositionally.   

*From a landscaper friend of mine and occasional poster here:  http://www.astro-landscapes.com/monument-valley-sunrise-long-exposure-copy/

As for warming / color cast filters, I defer to the forum as I do not use them.

- A

BTW,  nice pics, and thank you for that link, good stuff!

Scott
Cameras: 1DXII,5D III, 5D II.  Lenses    24-70 2.8L II IS, 70-200 f4L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, EF 400 5.6L, 300 2.8 IS II, Samyang 14 mm 2.8.   Flashes: 600EX-RT X 2, ST-E3-RT, 580 EX II.
Plus lots of stuff that just didn't work for me

ahsanford

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Re: Landscapde filters and systems
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2017, 06:14:22 PM »
BTW,  nice pics, and thank you for that link, good stuff!

Scott

Matthew's a working pro living in the venn diagram of hiking + landscape + astro.  I'd drop him a line if you have any questions at that website.

- A

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Re: Landscapde filters and systems
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2017, 06:14:22 PM »

ahsanford

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Re: Landscapde filters and systems
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2017, 06:24:10 PM »
I think Monument valley will be mainly flat with "monuments" sticking up, so grads will be useful- either for foreground, or maybe sky, hence the possibility of a reverse ND Grad.

[truncated]

By "compositing" do you mean shooting hdr?

MV will work with grads if you don't mind your mesa peaks (or whatever those boxy mini-mountains are called) being illuminated differently than your foreground.  I personally think jagged / serrated / up-and-down horizons  are punished with grad use -- you either darken your highest mountaintops or have a painful dark line/transition in your sky, but this is a matter of personal taste and the nature of the horizon you're looking at.

'Compositing' = HDR:  yes, in broad strokes of using multiple exposures to capture the entire scene, but not necessarily funneling all those exposures into some automated tool.  For instance, Bryan Carnathan at TDP runs through his way of assembling / masking things, including the fudge-y but clever way to process the same file two different ways to generate 'single shot HDR' output.

I personally like to get it all in camera, but at places like you are going that is not always possible.

- A

privatebydesign

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Re: Landscapde filters and systems
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2017, 06:30:23 PM »
I have CPL's and that's it, everything else is done better and faster in post, if I went in for long exposure blurred clouds I'd get a 10 stop ND too. There seems to be a perverse 'got to be done in camera' ideal that some people espouse to but filters are almost always a compromise and it is digital, out of camera looks like this 00010100100110110101011011110100100100100101110101010!

Having said that if out of camera is your reason and challenge for shooting go for it, otherwise spend a fraction the money a good filter costs on a blending plugin and video course.
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

Hector1970

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Re: Landscapde filters and systems
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2017, 06:20:32 AM »
I believe for antelope canyon a big stick to beat off other photographers is more useful than graduated filters.
Enjoy it anyway.
Those custom pyramidal grad filters sound like a great idea.
You could custom ones for different famous locations. An El Capitan shape, an Antelope canyon shape, a Torre Del Paines shape, a zebra striped one for lavender fields, ones for major waterfalls that are sort of t-shaped, Eiffel Tower shaped hole in the filter.
You pick your landmark and the post out the correct filter shape.

scottkinfw

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Re: Landscapde filters and systems
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2017, 11:55:29 AM »
I think Monument valley will be mainly flat with "monuments" sticking up, so grads will be useful- either for foreground, or maybe sky, hence the possibility of a reverse ND Grad.

[truncated]

By "compositing" do you mean shooting hdr?

MV will work with grads if you don't mind your mesa peaks (or whatever those boxy mini-mountains are called) being illuminated differently than your foreground.  I personally think jagged / serrated / up-and-down horizons  are punished with grad use -- you either darken your highest mountaintops or have a painful dark line/transition in your sky, but this is a matter of personal taste and the nature of the horizon you're looking at.

'Compositing' = HDR:  yes, in broad strokes of using multiple exposures to capture the entire scene, but not necessarily funneling all those exposures into some automated tool.  For instance, Bryan Carnathan at TDP runs through his way of assembling / masking things, including the fudge-y but clever way to process the same file two different ways to generate 'single shot HDR' output.

I personally like to get it all in camera, but at places like you are going that is not always possible.

- A

Got it.

Decided on Lee filter holder system with their 105 mm polarizer.  My Cokin system caused a cut off of the image at the 16 mm end of 16-35.

Right about the ND Grads cutting off tops of mountains etc., but this can be corrected in LR with the brush too.  I also agree that getting it right in camera is best.  I'll experiment.

I'm looking into a few filters now-Formatt- Hitech.

Much appreciated.
Scott
Cameras: 1DXII,5D III, 5D II.  Lenses    24-70 2.8L II IS, 70-200 f4L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, EF 400 5.6L, 300 2.8 IS II, Samyang 14 mm 2.8.   Flashes: 600EX-RT X 2, ST-E3-RT, 580 EX II.
Plus lots of stuff that just didn't work for me

ahsanford

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Re: Landscapde filters and systems
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2017, 12:29:55 PM »
Understand that the FL you start to vignette at with a 4x4 / 4x6 system is a frustratingly combination-specific phenomenon that you need to keep an eye on with UWA lenses.  Lee gives high-level guidance on what FLs on FF while vignette depending on how many slots are in your holder (see attached), but those are just estimates.

In truth, vignetting with a Lee-like (thread-in adapter ring system) is a function of:

  • Focal length (obviously)

  • Distance from lens front element to it's own native filter ring (yep, a lens-specific variable -- this is why Lee's math is just an estimate)

  • Whether you use a Wide Angle adaptor ring or a standard one.  (100% pay the extra few bucks for the WA one as it does what the standard one does and tucks the apparatus a bit closer to the front element)

  • How many filters you stack, or more to the issue, how many slots are in the holder

  • If a CPL ring is attached to the front of the holder

  • The height of the CPL's front rail (the bits that are above the threaded portion)

  • The diameter of the CPL's front rail -- some 'stepped' CPL designs are 105mm threaded but much larger on the rotatable ring to pull that front rail out of being a threat to vignetting.  They were crazy pricey when I shopped a few years back so I just got a standard one.

With my setup, and you can see everything I did here, I saw:

No vignetting with two slots + CPL ring on holder + NO CPL in place on a 16-35 f/4L IS all the way down to 16mm

No vignetting with two slots + CPL ring on holder + CPL in place on a 16-35 f/4L IS all the way down to 20mm

Be advised the Lee 105 is fine optically from what I've read, but I recall it had a huge front rail height, so the 20mm I cited above on a FF + 16-35 f/4L might be higher than that with the Lee CPL.  I ended up using a 105 B+W Kaesemann CPL, which certainly has a stout front ring of its own, but I found it to be a bit less tall.

- A

scottkinfw

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Re: Landscapde filters and systems
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2017, 05:08:48 PM »
I believe for antelope canyon a big stick to beat off other photographers is more useful than graduated filters.
Enjoy it anyway.
Those custom pyramidal grad filters sound like a great idea.
You could custom ones for different famous locations. An El Capitan shape, an Antelope canyon shape, a Torre Del Paines shape, a zebra striped one for lavender fields, ones for major waterfalls that are sort of t-shaped, Eiffel Tower shaped hole in the filter.
You pick your landmark and the post out the correct filter shape.

Hector, you are brilliant!  Let's do it!

Scott
;)
Cameras: 1DXII,5D III, 5D II.  Lenses    24-70 2.8L II IS, 70-200 f4L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, EF 400 5.6L, 300 2.8 IS II, Samyang 14 mm 2.8.   Flashes: 600EX-RT X 2, ST-E3-RT, 580 EX II.
Plus lots of stuff that just didn't work for me

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Re: Landscapde filters and systems
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2017, 05:08:48 PM »

scottkinfw

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Re: Landscapde filters and systems
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2017, 10:35:00 AM »
I have CPL's and that's it, everything else is done better and faster in post, if I went in for long exposure blurred clouds I'd get a 10 stop ND too. There seems to be a perverse 'got to be done in camera' ideal that some people espouse to but filters are almost always a compromise and it is digital, out of camera looks like this 00010100100110110101011011110100100100100101110101010!

Having said that if out of camera is your reason and challenge for shooting go for it, otherwise spend a fraction the money a good filter costs on a blending plugin and video course.

I have to agree with all you have said.

About a year ago on a wildlife shoot, my guide encouraged "getting it right in camera".  It actually is tough but makes sense.  I am  not fond of post, so I would prefer to get it right in camera, and improve DR using filters to get best pic.  The systems are very expensive.
Cameras: 1DXII,5D III, 5D II.  Lenses    24-70 2.8L II IS, 70-200 f4L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, EF 400 5.6L, 300 2.8 IS II, Samyang 14 mm 2.8.   Flashes: 600EX-RT X 2, ST-E3-RT, 580 EX II.
Plus lots of stuff that just didn't work for me

Pippan

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Re: Landscapde filters and systems
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2017, 03:32:31 AM »
I believe for antelope canyon a big stick to beat off other photographers is more useful than graduated filters.
Enjoy it anyway.
Those custom pyramidal grad filters sound like a great idea.
You could custom ones for different famous locations. An El Capitan shape, an Antelope canyon shape, a Torre Del Paines shape, a zebra striped one for lavender fields, ones for major waterfalls that are sort of t-shaped, Eiffel Tower shaped hole in the filter.
You pick your landmark and the post out the correct filter shape.
Post? That's so 20th Century. We need cameras that analyse bright areas of a scene and have a mechanism to temporarily darken those areas on the lens's front element.

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Re: Landscapde filters and systems
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2017, 03:32:31 AM »