If you haven´t heard anything so far of Singh Ray´s “Graduated Neutral Density Filters”, so step a little bit further. This blog explains you not the technics how to use them, I´ll only show you in general, how those three different main types work or with which one´s you can start with. Not knowing anything of digital photography when I sold my cabinet workshop, I stumbled across a book by David duChemin called “Vision Mongers: Making a Life and a Living in Photography”. (Very good book by the way if you are thinking about becoming a Pro). There are some interviews in this book about professional photographers and I watched their homepages eagerly. But Darwin Wiggett´s stuff I liked the most! So I was wondering how this guy takes such great pictures? Guess what – by using graduated neutral density filters (ND-Grads)! Well, not only of that, but if you go on the homepages I´m listing at the end of this blog, you´ll know what I mean! It´s just about getting an idea how to enhance your photography – wished someone would have shown me earlier…! There are three different types of ND-Grads: soft step, hard step and reverse. The soft step ones are cool for uneven skylines or uneven lines in general, while the hart step ones are used for straight horizons/lines. And the reverse ones are best used for straight horizon lines at sunset/-rise. To get more information about the technical side, go to http://www.singh-ray.com/. I started with a 3 stop soft step, a 3 stop hard step and a 3 stop reverse ND-Grad. This stuff is expansive, but it´s worth every penny so far! It enhances your abilities of taking images so much, that you want give them away anymore. They are bit sensitive to scratches, but it won´t do any to the photos you take. There are many blogs out there how to use them, first of all http://singhray.blogspot.com/, from there you can go to the homepages of all the photographers listed on the sidebar. It may seem confusing when you are starting with it, but if you start, try those three filters discribed above, and it will show you one main benifit of using them: time! By building those images “in the camera” like you see them out in the field, spares you that much time with post-processing, that you have more time left for your girlfriend or whatever! On condition that you using a polarizer already, those ND-Grad´s would be your next best bet to think about!
This photo was taken yesterday morning and shows those typical plants, where hop is growing (yeah, this stuff we need for making beer); its based in lower bavaria, the largest hop growing area in the world! I had a polarizer on my lens and also used a 3 stop hard step ND-Grad. Without it, it wouldn´t have been possible to take this photo like this. No post-production, no PhotoShop, nothing! Just buildt in-camera! Cheers, Werner