Ok, so I spent time talking about my screw in Neutral Density (ND) filters, now it's time to talk about the square filters that are graduate filters. Grad as I call them. The grad filter simply means that the top is shaded, like the ND filters and the bottom is light. That makes it so that when you have a bright scene on top of the horizon like a sunset, the bright can be correctly exposure as the bottom. Basically, you still get details on the bottom and not over expose the sky.
There are two basic type of grad filters. A hard grad filter has a line in the middle, the top is dark and the bottom is light. And the other type is a soft grad where it goes from dark on the top and fades to light on the bottom. The hard grad is perfect for a wonderful ocean sunset! What makes it perfect is the line in the middle. Match that line up with the horizon and take your best shot! The soft grad is really more practical though. I say that because the hard grad is not good for mountain ranges or any horizon with details with highs and lows.
Other then that, there is not much to it! Now they are square, so they don't screw in like the other ND filters. The filters I have are made by Cokin and and they have a holder that screws on to your lens and you simply drop the filters into the holder. With the one I have, I can stack up to 3 filter. Which I use to do back in the day before I discovered B+W! :) I still use it for the sunsets though. Nothing can replace my grads.
One thing about Cokin, which I to this day have a love/hate relationship with, is the color! And sometimes I cannot correct the color cast in post. The Cokin filters adds a bit of a pink color cast and the more I stack the more the colors. And when the color gets on my nerve, I process in black and white! Takes away all of my color issues!
With the image above, the addition of a pink hue really works! I was able to correctly expose the sky and the ground and despite the brightness of the sky, I was able to get a long enough exposure to have movement in the water. Hey, it works! :) And the exposure on this, to be exact, is 10 seconds.
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