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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Right Filters For Fall Color

When shooting in autumn, the polarizer, neutral-density and grad ND filters are indispensable for achieving stunning imagery

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Left: B+W Red Enhancer; Right: Tiffen Enhancing Filter
Recommended Filters
When purchasing a filter, quality is important. Chances are, you spent some time and money investing in a good lens, so why put a poor-quality filter in front? Remember, everything you put in front of that lens is only as good as the lowest-quality glass used, and not all filters are created equal.

Hoya Intensifier
Sunpak Red Enhancement Filter
Polarizers, for instance, should be used frequently, and it doesn’t make sense to use a less expensive polarizer that often can be less effective. Kevin McNeal uses the Singh-Ray LB ColorCombo, which is a combination of a warming polarizer and a color intensifier. “I use this polarizer when I want to capture the best of the warmer tones in my images, especially the reds,” he says. “It works by leaving the neutral colors and only saturating the vibrant colors.” Manufacturers such as B+W, Heliopan, Hoya, Lee, Sunpak, Tiffen and others also make high-quality circular and linear polarizers, with numerous models for best matching to your camera and lens.

When choosing an ND filter, it’s important to make sure that it doesn’t have any colorcast. For a series of extremely graduated ND filters, the Blender ND Filters from Formatt Filters use a transition that’s very gradual over the length of the filter, rather than just in the middle, which can be limiting in a scene. For ND grads, McNeal recommends buying large, square models that are comfortable to hold and will fit over all your lenses.

Singh-Ray LB ColorCombo

Formatt Circular Polarizer

Tiffen Circular Polarizer

Lee Polarizers

Other great filters for fall include Enhancing filters from B+W, Hoya (which calls its an Intensifier) and Tiffen; these make warmer colors like reds, browns and oranges pop in photos.

The Red Enhancement filter series from Sunpak is great for intensifying the red portion of the spectrum, perfect for fall colors and sunsets, too.

B&W (Schneider Optics)
(631) 761-5000

Formatt Filters (Bogen Imaging)
(201) 818-9500

Heliopan (HP Marketing Corp.)
(800) 735-4373

Hoya (THK Photo Products)
(800) 421-1141
Lee Filters
(800) 576-5055

(800) 486-5501

Sunpak (ToCAD America)
(973) 627-9600

(800) 645-2522


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