Landscape Photography Filters

Are you wanting to improve your landscape images? An quick and easy way to do so is to implement the use of filters. Here is my list of Landscape Photography Filters in order of importance. 1) The ND grad filter. This filter will help balance the exposure between the sky and foreground. This allows you to maintain detail in the sky, while pulling more detail from the shadows and foreground. Depending on the subject of your image and the light conditions, determines what ND grad filter you should use. I have several, but if I had to choose one that I use the most, it's the Lee Neutral Density .75 Graduated Hard Filter 6x4".

The hard edge filter is used for images that have a well defined horizon line. Like at a lake or any part of the wonderful state of Nebraska. Being that Michigan has little in the way of mountains and has tons of shoreline, The hard edge is mainly my goto filter. If shooting mountains and things like that, I would recommend the soft edge ND grad filter. I find the 2 or 3 stop filtres get the most use. To learn more on how to use a ND grand filter look at this post. 

2) The polarizing filter. The polarizer is my goto filter for any type of water photography. Waterfalls, lakes, streams, you name it. A polarizer removes the reflections from the water and other reflective surfaces  to give you more saturated colors and a more overall pleasing look to the image. Often you can see through the water on a calm lake to see logs or rocks when using a polarizer. Of course sometimes you want reflections off the water. In this case, a polarizer that is turned opposite of full polarization will actually enhance the reflection. The only reason I name it the number 2 filter on this list is because when it's used on a wide angle lens, and when the sky is involved, you will notice some banding and uneven exposure in the sky. For this reason alone, I really don't use my polarizer on an ultra wide angle lens unless the sky is absent from the image. There are many polarizers on the market but make sure to choose a good one. I use singh-ray polarizers. One word of advice, buy the largest filter you will need, and buy step down rings to fit your other lenses. This eliminates the need for a filter for every lens.

3) The Solid ND Filter. Long exposure photography seems to have been making a surge these past few years. Filters like the Lee Big Stopper and the Singh-Ray Mor-Slo allow you to stop down the exposure by up to 15 stops. This provides you with midday cloud blurring action. If you don't want to go that extreme, a 3 stop ND filter will allow you to capture the silky smooth waterfalls during the day. I do experiment with long exposure photography, but the main use of my solid ND filters if for the flowing water.

With all three of these filters added to your arsenal you are sure to improve your landscape imagery. If you find this article helpful please share!