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I've noticed some photos published lately that were apparently done with warm-tinted gradient filters such as Cokin's Gradual Tobacco. Admitting to a prejudice here, I've always thought these sorts of effects to be kind of hokey. But they're obviously selling. In one case, the photographer has several versions of the same shot online, with and without various gradient filter effects, and the one the magazine bought was tinted. I try not to succumb to trends, but still have to wonder if this is one. Curious about other opinions.

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Among my Lee filter sets I have sky blue grad (1G, 2G and 3G) mahogany grad, twilight grad and ND grads 3,6,9. Rarely used but become useful in certain landscape situations, dawn and dusk - check out the Lee filter site to see what great results can be achieved with filter combinations. Remember seeing lots of commissioned landscape images using tobacco grad back in the 70s and early 80s - so not a new trend. What goes around comes around!

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I can't make up my mind which I hated more, the tobacco grad or the pink grad back then. Please stay back "then" ! No need to come 'round again.

The blue or neutral grads made some sense and I admit to some limited use. Fortunately we can adjust better and more subtly in Photoshop without carrying all that extra kit about.

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I'm going back to the 80's but does anyone remember the Cokin Rainbow filter ? it was a small rainbow painted on to the perspex, 

or did I dream it, I'm sure it existed along with a motion blur, and various other unusual effects. 

Edited by Kelv

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17 hours ago, Kelv said:

I'm going back to the 80's but does anyone remember the Cokin Rainbow filter ? it was a small rainbow painted on to the perspex, 

or did I dream it, I'm sure it existed along with a motion blur, and various other unusual effects. 

 

I used to work on a photo mag back then, so there were always loads of Cokin 'freebies'. Mostly junk (yes, rainbow... ugh!). The only filter I kept for myself was a grey grad...

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5 hours ago, John Morrison said:

 

I used to work on a photo mag back then, so there were always loads of Cokin 'freebies'. Mostly junk (yes, rainbow... ugh!). The only filter I kept for myself was a grey grad...

And surely you kept the 8 and 16 star filters too :)

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Thanks for replies. I've always found these tinted-filter effects to be kind of hokey, as I said, and have never been tempted to produce them (although I did go through a phase of using polarizing filters a lot on film some years back). Seeing such shots published recently makes me wonder if art directors are more relativistic than photographers when it comes to tobacco-stained horizons. In any case, I'll continue to think that the best way to get a sunset shot is to be there at sunset.

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Generally against - and I only use polarizing in practice when what's under the water is important in lake / pond shots.

 

I've noticed in the last few years far too many camera-people on TV who seem to think "it's a grand house - put on the grad filter" - the darker turrets always give it away. (Even the occasional darkened church tower...)

 

John Crellin

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27 minutes ago, John Crellin said:

Generally against - and I only use polarizing in practice when what's under the water is important in lake / pond shots.

 

I've noticed in the last few years far too many camera-people on TV who seem to think "it's a grand house - put on the grad filter" - the darker turrets always give it away. (Even the occasional darkened church tower...)

 

John Crellin

I agree and then they pan the shot looks so wrong, they can do all that frame by frame in the grade too, we sometimes used to use an ND grad 9 on top and a ND grad 6 bottom so just the centre of frame was clear, that gave a lovely effect to certain scenes, but had to be careful.

 

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Shooting film I used cokin filters a lot to enhance existing conditions. It was hard to sell a film scenic without doing so. Today I do the same thing using photoshop. The key trick is to enhance only existing conditions, and retain a degree of naturalness.

 

Here is a film shot with a polarizer to enhance the lake reflection. A neutral grad to bring the sunlit mountains into the dynamic range of the film.

moraine-lake-in-the-valley-of-the-ten-pe

Here is a grad fog filter on top to add to the existing morning fog on the lake and fog the sun. A warming filter to move colours more toward sunrise. A neutral grad across the bottom to bring the metal canoe reflection within the dynamic range of the film.

morning-mist-on-oxtongue-lake-haliburton

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Bill, those images are beautiful 

 

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17 minutes ago, Kelv said:

Bill, those images are beautiful 

 

Ditto. The look is very natural. Well done.

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Thanks for the compliments.

The key is to enhance nature, but keep it natural. I do all enhancing in photoshop now. As Robert says it is nice to not have to carry all that kit around. I had about 20 cokin plastic filters,  a glass polarizer for each lens, a notebook containing a complete set of kodak colour balancing gels and a Minolta colour meter. All gone, not necessary with photoshop and digital.

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You can achieve similar results with the filters in the Nik software collection.  At least that way your original stays the same.

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Yes I also used to have a collection of Cokin filters, including one of those prisms with a hole in the middle to produce a kaleidoscope effect, plus several graduated ones, and a polarizer. I agree with other comments about digital and software (I use Lightroom's grad filters) allowing more subtle adjustment.

A little while ago we had a discussion about polarizing filters, and I do occasionally still use one.  Somebody in that thread referred to them producing a different quality of light in the right conditions. This one was taken on the 1st day of British Summertime this year, and was a rare outing for that filter:

north-pennines-landscape-part-of-sharnbe

 

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The only filter that I still carry is a polarizer, but I rarely use it. Indeed I came across it while searching in my bag for batteries that needed to be charged!

 

However I note that some local businesses are using colour tinted B&W shots within their premises to good effect. Question is, is it worth while producing work for this market or do the interior designers do it themselves?

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7 hours ago, Bryan said:

However I note that some local businesses are using colour tinted B&W shots within their premises to good effect. Question is, is it worth while producing work for this market or do the interior designers do it themselves?

Sepia and other toners used to involve some really toxic fluids and fumes. I remember literally crawling out of my darkroom from having breathed too much of whatever it was. It was a lesson in providing proper ventilation, but also one example of digital workflow being a definite improvement.

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I do use a polarizer at times, tend to always have a UV filter on if only to protect the lens...think I have used my gradient filter once.

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Slight digression, on the subject of polarizers I have read that linear polarizers are better for mirrorless cameras than

circular ones.

Is that so ?

 

Geoff

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9 hours ago, geoff s said:

Slight digression, on the subject of polarizers I have read that linear polarizers are better for mirrorless cameras than

circular ones.

Is that so ?

 

Geoff

 

My understanding is that linear can confuse the autofocus on DSLRs. I don't use a DSLR outdoors and don't make much use of autofocus so it's not an issue for me. Don't know why linear should be better on mirrorless, suspect either circular or linear would be OK.  Bit of research suggests there may be a problem with linear if your camera has a strong anti aliasing filter, but can't find any real evidence.  I'd better let the experts speak......

 

 

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Big thumbs up to the Nisi v5 Pro 100mm system. Quite a step up from the Lee system in terms of build quality, Nisi is absolutely first class/top notch, but pricey. The built in (but removable) CPL on the V5 Pro systems is easily adjusted/turned using 1 of 2 knobs that rotates it and make it a lot easier when working together with other rectangular filters (can use the CPL and three additional 100mm filters. Absolutely no vinjetting with this systems - widest I go is the Canon Ø82 16-35 f/2.8

 

Personally I exclusively use a polarizer and NDs, gotten rid of all others. Nisi's filter are in my eyes 100% cast-free. Overall the system is excellent, no light leaks, durable and IMHO worth the considerable premium over Lee/Cokin. My favourite and most used is the 10-stop ND, looking at adding the 20-stop one to eliminate a bit of stacking at times. I'm not "purist" so polarizer and NDs are the only ones needed, everything else easily and more controllably done in post with at least equal quality, most often much better.

 

@geoff s As I understand it after a quick research is that all mirrorless should work fine with linear ones, (and circular) whilst some dSLRs can be thrown off in terms of metering and AF - unless shooting in "live view" I presume. Linear ones considered more effective and are generally cheaper.

 

"Circular Vs. Linear Polarizers: There are two types of polarizing filters available linear or circular. Linear polarizers are more effective and less expensive than circular ones. But circular polarizers are needed with just about any camera that has a through-the-lens metering system, or autofocus. The reason for this is that both of these systems use semi-silvered mirrors to siphon off some of the light coming though the lens. If that light is linearly polarized it renders either the metering or the autofocus ineffective. This means that you’re going to have to buy circular polarizers unless you’re shooting with a pre-1970’s camera, or a view camera." (Luminous-Landscape.com)

 

 

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