Technique

Graduated ND filters

Graduated neutral density filters, or graduated ND filters, are used by photographers to control very bright areas of a scene. A graduated filter is made of glass which is half dark and half clear with a soft or hard edge between the two parts. Graduated ND filters come in different density, typically from one to 10 f-stops.

Fix or hand-held the filter in front of your lens. Place the darker area over the part you wish to darken (i.e. bright sky). The clear part of the filter will keep its normal brightness. You’ll notice that once you have placed the filter in front of your lens, you’ll need to re-adjust the exposure. You can use a graduated filter to emphasize an area of your image by darkening a less important area, knowing that the viewer’s eyes are naturally attracted by lighter areas in a photograph.

Note: The transition between the dark and clear parts of a filter can create an unnatural line in your image so use the proper density filter.

Nature Photography - Field Tips

It’s mating season and if you are into that kind of pictures then there are a few things to consider before heading out.

First you need to learn about your subject: mating call, mating ground, habitat, food source, droppings and even tracks. For bird photographers, there are several websites dedicated to bird songs. Start memorizing songs and calls, it will be easier for you to locate birds once you’re in the field.

Mating season on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

Mating season on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

Find your subject’s resting or nesting area and return there very early in the morning. Wait for them to wake up and start their day. Did you know that some birds tend to face east in the morning to warm up in the sun? Leave plenty of space for your subject and observe them while they pursue their activities. With a good zoom lens, you’ll be able to capture their routine. Be patient! You might need to stand still in inclement weather or in an awkward position for a very long period of time before you get a rewarding image.

I hope you enjoy the awakening of nature as much as I do!