Sunset at Derwentwater. Using an ND grad instead of the reverse grad would have made the sky very dark at the top of the picture.
I am very proud that my photography workshops are supported by LEE Filters, my clients have a wide selection of filters, holders and adaptor rings to use during a course, try before you buy. This will ensure they choose the right filters for their photography before they invest.
LEE Filters recently sent me a couple of sets of their new reverse grad filters and I have been trying these new filters out, so have my clients.
First impression, we love them!
What is a reverse grad filter?
A reverse grad has the dark area in the middle and is lighter at the top where an ND grad is darker at the top and lighter in the middle.
When photographing a sunrise or sunset, the brightest part of the image is in the middle at the horizon, where the sun is so this is where you need the darkest part of the filter. As you move away from the horizon, the sky is usually naturally a bit darker and therefore needs less filtration. If you use a hard ND grad that is dark enough to hold back the bright light on the horizon, the top of the sky can look unnaturally dark.
LEE says: “Many landscape photographers will testify that controlling exposure at sunrise or sunset can be tricky. The strength of the sun means it can appear blown out, and trying to adjust the exposure can leave other areas in the frame underexposed.
“LEE Reverse ND filters have been specifically designed to give the photographer full control over images shot at the beginning and end of the day. They have a stronger density in the centre of the filter, with a carefully designed transition zone that gives a natural, balanced exposure to the sky.”
Sunset at Kelly Hall Tarn. The sun was very low in the sky and the scene was very bright across the middle. The reverse grad has controlled the bright area without making the sky too dark.
What do I think?
I am very impressed with the Reverse Grad. When the brightest part of your scene is at the horizon it lets you control the light to stop the sky from overexposing, while ensuring the area at the top of the frame isn't too dark.
The filter was simple to use, easily finding the perfect position and making a big difference to the final image. I didn’t find any colour cast and thought the transition through dark to light was perfect, control the light at the horizon and soft enough to blend into the sky seamlessly.
It would be a perfect additional to your kit if you enjoy shooting sunrises and sunsets, especially on the coast.
My clients were suitably impressed and a couple of them have added one to their photography wish list.
For more information, visit the LEE website. http://www.leefilters.com/index.php/camera/reverse-nd
The reverse grad filters are offered in 0.6, 0.9, and 1.2 strengths representing 2, 3, and 4 stops of exposure reduction, respectively. All three filters are hand-manufactured for 100mm, Seven5, and SW150 systems.
My sunset workshops start this month and the reverse grads will be available so you can try them out.
Sunset reflections. The reverse grad has allowed my to shoot almost directly in to the sun but because the darker area is in the middle of the filter the light behind the tree is well controlled.