By: Arjen Drost

Oct 12 2012

Tags: ,

Category: Photography, Technique, the Netherlands, Urban


Focal Length:33mm
Shutter:15 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 5D Mark II
the city of Groningen

Every landscape photographer knows the problem: there is a nice sky with nice colours and there is also a nice foreground with lines or a lake. But the contrast between the sky and the foreground is too large for the digital sensor to capture. During the workshops landscape photography I give, I always explain about how this problem can be solved. I think the best way to solve this is the use of neutral density grad filters. This are filters where one half of the glass is dark, while the other half of the glass in just normal glass. If you place the dark glass in front of the sky, then it blocks out part of the bright light, reducing the contrast with the foreground, resulting in a picture with a well exposed sky and foreground. The only problem was, I didn’t have filters like that.

Today I changed that. I bought a nice set of Lee-filters. Of course I had to try them out straight away. One of the things I had in mind for some time was to make a series of pictures of the city of Groningen, my hometown. As I needed some water, I decided to make a start with this project and headed for a lake nearby and took some pictures of some houses near the water. Besides a one stop NDG-filter, I also used a big stopper. This is just a piece of black glass, blocking most of the light. Because of this you can use much longer exposures, resulting in a nice blurred lake in the foreground here. I’m quite satisfied with the result, especially as this is only the first time I try using filters. I’m sure you’ll see more later.


3 comments on “Filters”

  1. Thanks for the explanation. Great shot!

  2. Arjen, can you make a comparison with and without filters, so it’s easy to see the overall effect?
    Thanks, Robert

    • Robert, this is the version without filters

      The little bit darker sky was caused by the NDG-filter, the blurred water and the colours by the big stopper.

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