Gadget-Bag: Graduated NDs In A Digital World

These essential filters bring exposure for sky and ground inside a manageable range
When I was a photography student shooting a sunset 20 years ago, I encountered a vexing problem. When I metered for the sky glowing above Death Valley’s mountains in California, I got a wildly different reading than I did when I metered off the dunes below the horizon. Because I knew my slide film couldn’t handle more than a three- or four-stop exposure range, I realized I couldn’t get detail in both the sunset and the landscape beneath it. Sure enough, the shots exposed for the sky showed a silhouetted landform, and the shots exposed for the dunes blew out the bright sky completely.

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