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Filters to use in harsh light

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Pjw
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Filters to use in harsh light

Unread postby Pjw » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:08 pm

Recently we were in Namibia, where as you probably know the light is very bright/ harsh even in the early morning. This may be an obvious question to more experienced photographers, but I'm a novice so here goes...
Is there a filter that could improve photos taken in this harsh environment and if yes what?

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Pat
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bert
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Re: Filters to use in harsh light

Unread postby bert » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:28 pm

Two actually
A polarizating filter.
http://www.great-landscape-photography. ... ilter.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
But please, a good quality filter and no cheapy.

But what also seems to work is a neutral density filter
-2 stops
http://www.great-landscape-photography. ... ilter.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I have had some good results
But a polarizating filter is your best shot and a good investment

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Re: Filters to use in harsh light

Unread postby Pjw » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:35 pm

Thanks Bert
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Re: Filters to use in harsh light

Unread postby Switchback » Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:25 am

Yip, would also suggest a CIRCULAR polarized filter. :thumbs_up:
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Re: Filters to use in harsh light

Unread postby yoda » Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:42 pm

Bert,

I see that Neutral Density comes in 2, 4 or 8.
Which one do you suggest?

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Yoda

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Re: Filters to use in harsh light

Unread postby oddesy » Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:59 pm

I think the 2 is the better option, IMO :D
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Josh of the Bushveld
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Re: Filters to use in harsh light

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:31 pm

I want to stimulate debate on this subject.
From what I understand, light early in the morning and late in the afternoon has its special qualities due to its low angle, and maybe also due to having to travel through more atmosphere. (If you disagree or know more, please post.)

Given those assumptions, I don't see how any filter is going to reduce the effects of 'harsh light', since the filter does not change the nature of the light, e.g. the angle. This is extra true for a neutral density filter, which decreases the amount of light reaching the sensor only, it does not change the nature of the light.

Polarising filters (circular and non) filter out polarised light, i.e. light which has been reflected off a surface. Such filters can also not change the angle of the light, or many other characteristics of the light.

Essentially, I fail to understand how using an ND or CPL filter will improve shots taken in harsh (mid-day) light.
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yoda
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Re: Filters to use in harsh light

Unread postby yoda » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:07 pm

Joshilewis,

My understanding is that the ND & CPL filters change the nature of the light that reaches the camera sensor. Perhaps someone vcan give a more technical explanation.

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Re: Filters to use in harsh light

Unread postby bert » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:19 pm

CPL works like sunglasses
Actually blocks the harsh light
And enriches dull colours like sand in the middle of the day
Or a bleak sky
How does a CPL filter work

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Re: Filters to use in harsh light

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:55 pm

yoda wrote:Joshilewis,

My understanding is that the ND & CPL filters change the nature of the light that reaches the camera sensor. Perhaps someone vcan give a more technical explanation.

Thanks
Yoda

No, an ND filter simply blocks all wavelengths of light equally (hence 'neutral'). Using an ND filter has the same affect of closing your aperture (ignoring depth of field) - i.e. less light reaches your sensor, but the light is unchanged.

bert wrote:CPL works like sunglasses
Actually blocks the harsh light
And enriches dull colours like sand in the middle of the day
Or a bleak sky
How does a CPL filter work

CPL filters work like polarised sunglasses only :)
I'm not sure I agree with you that it blocks 'harsh light'. I guess it depends on how you define harsh light. A CPL will block only light that has reflected off a surface (glass, water etc).

I am an engineer, so I prefer scientific, logical, quantitative explanations, not qualitative :)
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Josh of the Bushveld
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Re: Filters to use in harsh light

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:56 pm

Also, does 'harsh light' not also imply something about the shadows cast by the light? Neither an ND nor CPL filter will change this.
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