Four Tips & Tricks When Using Creative Filters
This is the second article of three on using filters on your camera for seascape work. Here’s a link to the first posting on which filters to buy for seascape work. I thought it might be worth sharing 4 little Tips/tricks that I have found useful as I’ve been working with creative filters.
Tip # 1 – Carrying your filters
I spent about a year trying to find the best way to carry my filters. At first I left them in my camera bag, but found it slightly cumbersome rummaging around for filters when you need to swap them quickly. I also lost one of my Singh Ray GND filters while on a dawn shoot at Turimetta (expensive loss). Anyway I ended up going to an army disposal shop and purchasing an army hip belt. This is absolutely perfect for carrying creative filters for a few reasons:
- The pouch holds all 7 of my filters as well as the creative filter holder
- The dimensions perfectly hold my grad ND filters inside their padded protection cases
- I know that my filters are always with me even if I put my camera bag down on a rock somewhere
- Now I grab the pouch and I know I have my entire filter kit with me (rather than spreading filters around pockets in a photo vest for example)
So if you are looking for a better way of carrying your filters you might want to consider a belt pouch like this one.
Tip # 2 – Remove one filter slot from your creative holder
If you enjoy shooting with ultra-wide lenses, then even with the ZPro holder (100mm) you will probably find that you get some vignetting when you are zoomed right out. I reckon on my D700 I get a bit of vignetting if I am any wider than about 19mm. One way you can cut down the vignetting slightly is to remove the third row from the filter holder. This leaves you with two slots instead of three. In this configuration I can still put my circular polariser in the holder, then add an ND filter as well as a graduated ND filter. I have found that I never use the third slot. So if you don’t need three…. simply unscrew the four screws and take the outer slot off.
Tip# 3 – If you do need to go ultra-wide, reverse your holder
I’m not sure if you can do this with Lee holders, but you can definitely do it with Cokin filter holders. If you are just using 1 filter (like a grad ND) and you really want to shoot as wide as possible, you can reverse your creative filter holder and shoot ultra-wide without vignetting.
Tip # 4 – Keep two lens clothes to remove the salt.
If there is a lot of salt spray in the air, your filters will get coated fairly quickly. You will need to clean them regularly. Microfibre cloths can quickly become smeary if they get damp with seawater, so I keep two lens cleaning clothes in my pocket, a chamois one that does a good job of absorbing all the moisture and drying my filter well, then I give it a final polish with a dry micro fibre cloth fora streak-free finish.
If anybody else has any tricks or tips for using creative filters, I’d love to hear about them.
In my final article, I’m going to try and do some experiments around understanding and quantifying the colour casts that various filters create on your images.