Regarding the use of Colour Graduated Filters to Large Format

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by Dikaiosune01, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. Dikaiosune01

    Dikaiosune01 Member

    Mar 3, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Large Format
    The wheels in my noggin has been going round and round again. So I wanted feedback and talk this out.

    My application will be primarily large format photography (4x5 format). Occasionally I use ND grads. Typically I don't' because they are difficult to meter and estimate (especially in the soft gradation.
    (question1: can you offer any suggestions regarding the metering while using ND-Grad filters?)

    I also like to shoot black and white film because it allows me to process and develop the film myself. That being said, the importance of colour filters doesn't need to be explained to me. Now, after reading all the literature I've have (and there is tons more out there) I've never read anything about using colour graduated filters for black and white photography. (question 2) : How will the use and application of coloured graduated filters differ from using a poorly made (colkin) ND grad filter that has a distracting purplish colour cast (when I shoot digital - I can't see it in black and white)

    (question 3) : Do you know many photographers who have used coloured graduated filters? Is this a successful solution to the problem of creating dramatic dark skies while maintaining shadow detail in the foreground?

    (question 4) : have you seen those Chinese coloured filters. No where near "Lee" (ironic) standards, but they may prove sufficient for my experiements.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2011
  2. Maris

    Maris Member

    Jan 17, 2006
    Noosa, Australia
    Multi Format
    I use grad filters on 4x5 and 8x10 for black and white photographs; no colour. My experience suggests:

    1. Metering is done without the filter and no exposure compensation is needed. Increasing the exposure, for example, would reduce the filter effect and contradict the reason for using the filter in the first place.

    2. I know of at least one photographer (me) who gets good results out of grad filters. My most used filter is a grad red which darkens skies, makes clouds "pop", but doesn't depress shadow detail in foreground textures.

    3. The Chinese filters work fine in that they don't harm sharpness. What can't be predicted is the exact colour and density they send you. At times I've used two grad reds, one on top of the other, when I want more density than they supply.

    For black and white photography with an experimental component these filters are an inexpensive entree into some very nice visual effects.