Sedona: filter trials

This gallery will take a look at some of the differences that filters can make.  Circular polarizing filters (aka CPL) are popular for landscapes.  Neutral density filters (ND) are sometimes suggested.  Mostly to allow camera settings in bright light that would be in alignment with dimmer light.  Often to allow longer shutter times.  In this case there is not much need for a slow shutter, but the ND filter does allow the lens to be opened up a little.  I wanted to still be able to handhold the camera, so a mild ND 0.9 filter was used.  This can also be called a 8X ND filter or a 3 stop ND filter.  It cuts the light transmission by 3 stops.

For all of these the camera was an Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Sigma 19mm “prime” lens.  For a bigger image, and a peek at the EXIF info, click on any shot.  This will also launch a slideshow for all of the pictures.

First set shows the east face of Coffeepot Rock.  This feature is usually photographed from the other side, so this view may not be familiar.  F/11 was dictated to keep everything in focus, thus the choice of aperture priority.  The camera’s AE programming set the shutter speed and ISO.

Caption EXIF

CPL filter

No filter

No filter

ND 0.9

ND 0.9


Next set is Wilson Canyon, just over a mile north of downtown Sedona.  Here the shooting mode was the Program mode.  With a filter this mode first set the f-stop to f/4.  I wanted a little more DOF than that so I used the program-shift control on the two filter shots to move the aperture to f/6.7, shutter speed and ISO were set by the AE.

CPL filter

CPL filter

No filter

No filter

ND 0.9

ND 0.9


The final set shows the south face of Courthouse Butte, in the SE corner of the valley.

CPL filter

CPL filter

No filter

No filter

ND 0.9

ND 0.9


Summary

The CPL gave deeper skies, as promised.  For each of the these I adjusted the orientation of the CPL for maximum effect.  Which was really too strong, at least in the Coffeepot shot.  The ND 0.9 was more of an enigma.  In theory it should have made no difference whatever.  So much for theory, differences are pretty evident.  However, I can’t say the difference is particularly beneficial.  And the difference is mild enough that it would be easy to duplicate with post processing.

Now to close out with a few links that may be helpful –

http://visitsedona.com/
http://www.dreamsedona.com/
paper map for Sedona area (Amazon)
Larry Lindahl – Sedona photographer, author, guide
http://www.sedonahikingtrails.com/
Forest Service site for the Wilderness reserves

 

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