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Thread: Filters stacking technique

  1. #1
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    Default Filters stacking technique

    Hi guys,

    Earlier today I just bought a GND and ND8 filter and I was testing out taking a sunset shot, I realise that GND was not enough to capture the entire dynamic range. To expose the sky correctly would still result in an underexposed foreground. In this situation what am i suppose to do? stack another GND?

    I tried stacking the ND8 8 half way and it result in having a harsh line right after where the ND8 ends. Any tips? I saw some pictures of nightmare exposing the foreground very nicely as well as getting a nicely exposed sky (punggol beach shot) and IIRC he is not doing HDR.

    Question 2 is lets say we are taking pictures of foreground consisting of trees as horizon and the sky, if the graduating area falls on the trees, it would also cause a slight underexposure near the top of the trees and if I rest the graduating area right above the trees would result in slight overexposed sky. In this situation, again is there any advise?

    last question is about metering, as part of the graudating area of the GND is covering the metering point thus resulting in a slightly darker reading so we always take the reading before applying the filter right? and not after the filter is applied. pls advise.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Filters stacking technique

    you need a stronger gnd.

    unfortunately, most of the cheaper brands like tianya only have one type of gnd, usually around 2 stops.

    cokin has more, but has color cast.

    the last possibility is expensive brands like singh ray (us $150 a filter last i checked) or lee.. not sure if justifiable. me, i just take tripod, make 2 -3 exposures for relevant details, previsualising how the eye sees it, then use layer to retain the relevant details. you can try that, is poor man's gnd

    the nd8 has harsh transition because it will be hard edge, you can probably do that ONLY for pictures where horizon line is very distinct, i.e. no buildings etc in the picture protruding into the sky. to help yourself place the edge properly, you can stop down the lens while looking through viewfinder (diff cam diff ways).. and then move the filter.

    for metering, you take before, and then add the filter. hope this helps.

    my punggol shots, some are using the abovementioned method (called DRI); some are with gnd filter.. most of the time with sunset will be DRI, unless after the sun has gone down , then lighting more even, the difference between sky and foreground not that great, can use gnd.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Filters stacking technique

    If i interpret correctly, stacking the GND and ND8 halfway means you have a '5-stop" GND? How about pushing the ND8 upwards, that should give a more gradual transition? I would think it works better if your GND is soft edge.
    Not sure if that would work when applied, if you really try, do share the results.
    Last edited by ahbian; 30th August 2009 at 09:41 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Filters stacking technique

    On metering you do it before attaching any filters. Switch to center-weighted average metering and meter the foreground (assuming you want the foreground to be the base exposure), then attach the correct strength GND.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Filters stacking technique

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    you need a stronger gnd.

    unfortunately, most of the cheaper brands like tianya only have one type of gnd, usually around 2 stops.

    cokin has more, but has color cast.

    the last possibility is expensive brands like singh ray (us $150 a filter last i checked) or lee.. not sure if justifiable. me, i just take tripod, make 2 -3 exposures for relevant details, previsualising how the eye sees it, then use layer to retain the relevant details. you can try that, is poor man's gnd

    the nd8 has harsh transition because it will be hard edge, you can probably do that ONLY for pictures where horizon line is very distinct, i.e. no buildings etc in the picture protruding into the sky. to help yourself place the edge properly, you can stop down the lens while looking through viewfinder (diff cam diff ways).. and then move the filter.

    for metering, you take before, and then add the filter. hope this helps.

    my punggol shots, some are using the abovementioned method (called DRI); some are with gnd filter.. most of the time with sunset will be DRI, unless after the sun has gone down , then lighting more even, the difference between sky and foreground not that great, can use gnd.
    hey thank you! Is the color cast from cokin's troublesome to remove?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Filters stacking technique

    Any one has the singh-ray filter

    http://www.singh-ray.com/varind.html

    Just found out they have this 2-in-1 polarizer + variable ND filter

    http://www.singh-ray.com/varinduo.html

    Certainly not cheap.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Filters stacking technique

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    you need a stronger gnd.

    ...
    Thank you for sharing with us your technique. I've only tried metering with the filter(s) on. Shall try metering without them first.

    TS: I think colour casts are generally easy to remove if you are "good with seeing colours". For me, I tend to just auto-level (the noob way) and/or adjust the colour balance accordingly and it has worked quite well for me.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Filters stacking technique

    Quote Originally Posted by byteyou View Post
    hey thank you! Is the color cast from cokin's troublesome to remove?
    it is yellowish.

    but if you shoot in raw, it doesn't really matter.
    Quote Originally Posted by aspenx View Post
    Thank you for sharing with us your technique. I've only tried metering with the filter(s) on. Shall try metering without them first.

    TS: I think colour casts are generally easy to remove if you are "good with seeing colours". For me, I tend to just auto-level (the noob way) and/or adjust the colour balance accordingly and it has worked quite well for me.
    actually, i meter with filter on, use center weighted.

    the most "correct" way is what i wrote..

    btw, auto level is not a good way to go, it might destroy precious details in the highlight/shadow because of the way it does things.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Filters stacking technique

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post

    btw, auto level is not a good way to go, it might destroy precious details in the highlight/shadow because of the way it does things.
    Kinda off-topic but I use Nikon Capture NX 2's "auto-level" sparingly. It's much more flexible than photoshop's (AFAIK) and I can check whether the shadow/highlight details are gone or not with just ctrl+s/h.

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