How to enhance your landscape photography?

Elvis Elvis

Choosing and using landscape filters

Although I try to keep my images as natural as possible, there is no doubt that at times filters can be really useful for the photographer.

They can help to enhance the natural mood and drama of a landscape, especially if shooting on film. But they can be just as useful when used with a digital camera, even though some of the effects can be achieved on the computer. I find that it’s much more satisfying, and often better, to adjust an image as it’s taken, rather than spend hours manipulating afterwards. It’s important to choose good quality filters. Lens manufacturers spend a fortune to get the best optics possible, so putting a piece of plastic in front of it defeats the object somewhat ! Lee and Cokin systems are professional standard and specifically designed with the landscape photographer in mind They are quite expensive, but as with anything – you get what you pay for.

These systems slot into a holder that’s fixed to the front of your lens by an adapter ring (You’ll find the correct adapter ring size written on the front rim of your lens.)

Other types are designed to screw directly into the front thread of your lens.

Whichever type you use, the effects can be amazing.

How to enhance your landscape photography?

To darken skies.

A Neutral Density (ND)or Grey Grad is the most useful for this effect with landscapes. Position the darker shaded part over the sky and the clear area over the land. This balances the contrast and allows you to capture dark, stormy skies while keeping the exposure correct for the ground.

To reduce reflection and saturate colours.

A polariser is used to reduce reflections off water (just like Poloroid sunglasses) and make the most of blue skies, adding saturation to your image. Rotate in its holder while looking through the viewfinder to darken the sky until you get the desired effect. With Autofocus cameras, to avoid metering and focusing problems, buy a circular polariser rather than the cheaper linear type.

To increase warmth.

You don’t have to stay at home on overcast days – just pay more attention to details in the landscape around you. Look for stone walls and ruined buildings for instance, which may look too contrasty in sunlight. Shooting under cloudy skies could produce cold, grey-looking results, but you can easily add warmth by using an 81A or 81B in front of your lens. These are gently tinted and can also be used for adding extra warmth to your sunrise or sunset shots.

Creating drama.

Ever wondered how you get those really dark, dramatic skies on black & white film? The answer is to use a red filter. For Black and White photography, this little beauty is indispensable, as it darkens the blues to give your landscapes much more impact. To get the strongest effect you need a good contrast of blue sky and white cloud. Clear skies will appear to turn almost pure black. It also acts to darken green foliage, adding some extra contrast to your landscape images.

Make it atmospheric !

When faced with misty conditions, exploit the cool look with a blue 80A filter. This will give the scene an almost eerie, monotone appearance.