« Back to Blog

Lens Filters

Lens Filter

Lens Filters

Hi, this is David Luria, the Director of the Washington Photo Safari.

We take people around the monuments in Washington DC and teach them how to take great pictures.

So today I want to talk to you about filters.

When you see pictures that have a beautiful deep blue sky and white puffy clouds standing in contrast to the sky, how do they do that?

When you see pictures of waterfalls that look like silk clouds going over the waterfalls, how do they do that?

When you see pictures of monuments in famous places that have no people in them at all when you know perfectly well it’s full of people, how do they do that?

Well, it’s not smoke and mirrors. It’s done with filters. First of all, a very useful filter to have is a circular, polarizing filter which you should mainly use on sunny days and especially when the sun is low in the sky and you are aiming at a sky that is about 90-degrees to the position of the sun.

The lower the sun in the sky, the more effect the filter has.  It makes the sky deep blue and the clouds nice and puffy white just as your sunglasses or the top part of your tinted windshield of your car does. That’s called polarizing the light and it makes for pictures of nature and landscape that look much more professional.

Secondly there are a set of filters that are called neutral density filters. They come in gradations of 1 through 9. The 9 are so dark that you can hardly see through them. These are the filters that keep light out of your camera so that you can do slow shutter speeds even on cloudy or sunny days, otherwise your pictures would be way over-exposed.  That’s how how they make the waterfalls look like clouds – by doing a two or three-second long exposure on the waterfall with a camera of course on a tripod.

That’s how they make people disappear from the monuments.  Anyone who is moving or walking will be walking right through the picture and you won’t even see them.  So filters make your camera life much more interesting.

There’s a third set of filters called a UV filter which comes with a lot of the lenses that help to protect the lens. Keep the water off and if the camera should fall it absorbs the shock.

That’s the story on filters. They are very useful and should in everybody’s camera bag.

And any of these filter can be purchased on Amazon.com.

(Note: We do receive a small commission if you purchase it through the link provided).