graduated neutral density filter


Circle of Light by Steve Cole
Via Flickr:
The awesome location of Castlerigg stone circle close to Keswick in the lake district. A location that provides a spectacular vista to see some of the most majestic fells in the lake district. I chose this lesser used viewpoint with Blencathra as a backdrop mainly because the dawn clouds were being lit up beautifully by the soon to be rising Sun and of course the clouds seem to mirror the shape of the mountain wonderfully. I have to admit this was supposed to be my orignal upload tonight but it seemed to go walkabout in the Flickr upload system, so I uploaded the Derwent dawn shot instead, then all of a sudden this shot appears.. So I don’t normally upload a couple on the same day, I will leave both on seeing that friends have made the effort to fav/comment.

What Is The Zone System: A Practical Guide

If you want us to put it in the simplest words possible, the Zone System is a helps us get the right exposure in all our photos, every time, without fail, even in the strangest light settings, and without a trusty matrix meter. It is a magical system conceived of by none other than Ansel Adams himself, along with photographer Fred Archer in the late 1930s. As the father of landscape describes himself, the Zone System is “not an invention of mine; it is a codification of the principles of sensitometry, worked out by Fred Archer and myself at the Art Center School in Los Angeles, around 1939-40.” These masters of photography created the Zone System to help us expose in tricky lighting situations where the dynamic range is out of whack, or the lighting is fooling your light meter into creating exposures that are too bright or too dark.

The Zone System was originally developed for black and white sheet film, which was the only type used in those days. Sheet film was individually developed on standard exposure papers, but today we have color roll film that can be mass developed on papers with varying exposures. The Zone system is as much applicable to these “modern” methods as they were to the film it was created for, and can even help digital photographers get perfect exposures. And guess what? Digital photographers, the Zone System can work for you too!

Why do you Need the Zone System

Technically you probably don’t. However, for those of you who are exposure perfectionists, the Zone System is extremely effective in measuring different tones and the dynamic range of a frame that you are about to shoot. It helps you make the perfect exposure with just a spot meter to work with. This gives you immense control over what you’re shooting. You don’t just make guesses at what the right exposure might be, or waste film bracketing “just in case”. Thus, you can easily figure out when you require extra lighting, and what kind and amount of lighting that might be, or whether there is need for a fill flash to get the right brightness. It can also help you figure out if you need graduated neutral density filters.

The zone system is highly beneficial in capturing accurate images when the camera is unable to set the exposure to an accurate reading, so that you get to decide what your image will turn out like, and you know exactly how it will look before you make the exposure. 

How does the Zone System Work?

A camera’s metering system measures accurate exposure readings by focusing on the middle grey tones, which is 18% grey. This grey is the average of black and white. So, when you are shooting in a bright area, your camera will try to dim the light by bringing it down to the average and making the image underexposed in the process. Similarly, when you are shooting in a dark area, your camera will try to increase the brightness of the image, making it over-exposed. Understanding this mechanism is crucial to understanding how the zone system can be used.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Please please share the uses of your filters you have in taking pics. :)

I will make it easier and post sample shots of what the filters do. I uploaded the images in black and white to emphasize the focus on the tones and elements in the image. 

  1. Shot without any filters

  2. 3 Stop Graduated Neutral Density Filter (This means that the filter is 3 light stops darker at the top and then gradually lightens to become clear at the bottom)

  3. 3 Stop Graduated Neutral Density Filter +  2 Stop Graduated Neutral Density Filter (This means that stacking the two together I effectively get a 5 stop difference between the top portion of the image and the clear portion at the bottom)

  4. 9 or 10 Stop Neutral Density Filter (There are many different brands available but the basic premise is that they allow you to take long exposures during very bright conditions such as mid afternoon or noon.)

    This one is a 30 second exposure which causes the clouds to blur due to their movement.

    While this one is a 120 second exposure which makes the clouds appear pretty much as just streaks in the sky.