Camera Filters and Accessories Billings MT
Utilize camera filters to manipulate light and achieve the perfect shot. Filters and other accessories can turn an average photo into a great photo. Here you’ll find additional information on camera filters and accessories as well as local companies and providers that may help you in your search.
Five Filter Myths
Five Filter Myths—02/08/10
What you think you know about filters may be hurting your photos
1. Always use a filter to protect your new lens. UNLESS… that filter isn’t worthy of the lens it’s on. Why would you put a cheap 10-dollar UV filter on a top-notch $1,000 lens? You might as well protect it with a dirty sock. The lens’ optical quality is only as good as its weakest link—which is why its important that any filter you use is high-quality glass. Short of that, don’t filter just for protection. (Just be sure to be really careful with your new lens!)
2. It’s digital; you don’t need a filter. UNLESS… you care about making great photos rather than trying to fix poor photos in the computer. There are lots of great effects that you can achieve in the computer, in some cases even rivaling what filters can do during capture. But few people would argue that you shouldn’t get something right in camera if you’ve got the chance. Sure, don’t worry about subtle color correction when you’re shooting since you’re working with a RAW file that’s infinitely editable in post. But for polarizing and neutral density filtration? No amount of post works as effortlessly and effectively as filtering the lens on your camera.
3. I don’t need a GND—I’ve got a polarizer. UNLESS… you don’t want to darken the whole frame at once. Grad ND filters are standard operating procedure for landscape photographers who want to narrow the contrast range between two distinct areas of the frame—most often, bright skies and darker landscapes. The graduated filter is the only way to do this effectively in camera. An ND filter blocks light without shifting color, making it ideal for use when longer shutter speeds are required (if you want to impart motion blur to a waterfall, for example). A polarizer also blocks light, but it alters other aspects of the image too—including reflections and color. And a polarizer can’t be applied selectively to only one portion of the frame.
4. I don’t need a polarizer unless I want to shoot water or darken skies. UNLESS… you’d like to maximize the vividness and saturation of color in your images. True, polarizers are ideal for making blue skies deeper blue. But the way this is accomplished is the same reason polarizers can bring out other colors throughout a scene. Because the polarizing filter eliminates scattered light reflections, it eliminates them in the sky (from water vapor) making skies read as a deeper, richer blue. The same principle applies to green foliage or brightly colored flowers or literally any object on which reflections dampen the intensity of the color. It’s practically impossible to eliminate these subtle reflections any other way than w...
Make Your Own Extreme ND Filter in an Instant
Make your own extreme ND filter in an instant—03/29/10
Create a variable ND filter from filters you already own
Commonly available in “graduated” form, neutral-density filters permit photographers to darken the frame as if the amount of available light were lower, or as if the ISO speed were slower. Graduated filters darken one part of the frame while not affecting the remainder—perfect for balancing bright areas with dark. For limiting the overall exposure, though, non-graduated neutral- density filters darken the entire scene evenly—making it possible to create long-exposure effects even in bright sunlight.
For example, at ISO 100 and a minimum aperture of ƒ/32, a basic daylight exposure might produce a shutter speed of 1/25th of a second. That’s not nearly long enough to create the motion blur that makes moving water fluffily blurred. Add a two-stop neutral-density filter, though, and the shutter speed drops down to about a fifth of a second. Unfortunately that’s probably still not slow enough to create the right look.
Four stops would get you to a full second of exposure, which is much more effective at creating the motion blur that turns moving water into the beautiful, pillowy, white blurs landscape photographers love. Stack a couple to produce even further light reductions. But if you don’t own neutral-density filters, which aren’t exactly the most commonly needed accessory, what can you do? Why not make a variable neutral density by utilizing filters you may already have at your disposal.
Slap a circular polarizer on your lens and chances are you lose about two stops of light. That’s a good start for achieving the density required for a longer exposure, but it’s not quite enough. Put a second polarizer on your lens though, and now you’re really talking about density. And not just four stops either.
Because polarizers work by aligning microscopic slits to align and limit the wavelengths of light allowed to pass through the filter, when you stack them together you can create an exponentially stronger filter by the way in which you align those slits. That means you can take two 2-stop polarizers and create the equivalent of perhaps six or even seven stops of light blocking power. And like all polarizers, you can see the effects in front of your eyes as you rotate the stacked filters in front of your lens. (Be sure to reverse the second polarizer. If both are pointing in the same direction, you’ll get strange color shifts and density, but it won’t work nearly as well as with one of the filters pointing...