This week I thought I would spotlight some images created using optical filters. "The Basic Book of Photography" by Tom and Michele Grimm has a full chapter on filters. You can find a good discussion on photographic filters (including internet references) on Wikipedia. Given that I have immediately pointed you to other material, you may have guessed that this blog update is not a treatise on filters, their use, etc.
Filters are just one of the many tools that photographers use when creating images. There are hardware tools like optical filters, tripods and monopods, ball heads, panning heads, nodal rails and robotic panning heads, gimbal heads and bush hawk shoulder mounts. There are software tools including raw image editors, filters and processors and post-raw image editors, filters and processors. Manufacturers of these tools include Acratech, Adobe, B&W, Bushhawk, Cokin, Gigapan.org, HDRSoft, Kirk, Lee, NIK, OnOne, Really Right Stuff, Singh-Ray, Tiffen, Wimberley and more.
Which tools to use and why is both science and art. Some hardware tools are used to stabilize the camera and lens for long exposures. Some hardware tools are used to stabilize the camera and lens while allowing motion on the X and/or Y axis. Some hardware tools are used to alter the light before it reaches the film or digital sensor. Some software tools are used to "stitch" digital images together to create panoramic images but most software tools are used to alter the affects of light after capture by the digital sensor or capture by film scanning.
Over time I have accumulated many of these tools and while I have many to chose from, my approach to creating an image has always been less work is better. I almost always use a tripod with a ball head. I sometimes use a gimbal head. When I am composing the image, I start out by visualizing the image. I then mix science and art by assessing the lighting and it's affect on the composition. Sometimes I use a circular polarizing filter, sometimes I use a graduated neutral density filter and sometimes I use a reverse graduated neutral density filter but I use them all with the same purpose: alter the light to fit the composition. Sometimes I find that the images did not turn out the way I wanted and I will use software tools to try to alter the results. When using the software tools, I try to make changes using the raw image editors, filters and processors first. If the image is still not where I want it, I then use the post-raw editors, filters and processors. One thing I am not very good at is remembering to make notes about what filter (if any) I used when capturing the moment in camera. Sometimes I can look at the image and figure out what I did but when I am doing my best work, I can't tell if I used a filter.
Anyway, if you have read the blog update this far, here is your pay-off. The images I am spotlighting today were all found on one of two groups on FlickR. Some images were found in the group "LEE Filters" and some were found in the group "Singh Ray Filters". All demonstrate both the science and art of using a filter to create a memorable image.
"Beach of dreams II" by Vincenzo Mazza - www.afterglow.it/
"Currumbin Rocks" by lovephotos10
"El Dragón Sediento" by Iván Cajigas
"Staithes Dawn Light" by Rob Ferrol
"Sunset" by Martin Mattocks (MJM383)
I hope you enjoy this weeks selection from FlickR. Feel free to visit my website, like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter or add me to a circle on Google+.
Have a good weekend and think "rain"!