If you’ve ever wondered how some of these landscape photographer get such breath taking images, there are a few factors. Location, time of the day and Filters. Ok there are few others but these are the main ones.
Just over two months ago I decided I wanted to start shooting landscapes a little. There are various reasons behind this which will become more apparently over the next few months here on RAW. Anyway so I’ve been lucky enough to be able to test out some great equipment which you’ll be seeing more of in coming videos and reviews, but today I’m going to talk about Cokin filters and more specifically the “P” series.
Before I get into specifics the beauty of square filters like Cokin’s are that if you look after them you will be able to use them for years to come, with different lenses. When you purchase screw in lenses you have to purchase a certain size for your lens, if you ever get a new lens that doesn’t have the same filter diameter you will need to purchase a whole new filter. With Cokin’s all you need to do is buy a new adapter ring. Of course if you have two or more lenses all with different diameters’ you’ll just have to get a few more adapter rings.
It’s not as well know but Cokin also have a range of portrait filters as well, but lets get into it.
What filters do I have
So I’ve got a few filters actually. I started off with a Landscape #1 kit which includes a P037 warming, P123 graduated blue and P197 sunset. I haven’t had the opportunity to use the P037 warming filter just yet but I hope to give it ago very soon.
I’ve also recently just got P123s soft graduated blue filter, P123f graduated ND8, P121L graduated ND2. These ones have come in handy recently.
How do I go about using these filters
To the seasoned landscape user it’s probably very easy to get these filters working they way they should. However when they first arrived (I’m talking about the Landscape #1 kit), my first attempt was a disaster. However I was able to study what the filters were actually doing and I went back for round two!
The above photo was taken with a Tamron SP AF10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II B001, Velbon 603R Sherpa tripod, P123 graduated blue and P197 sunset stacked on top of each other. I think stacking these filters is where you get the full benefit, your able to create your own effects that aren’t the same as everyone else’s to a certain point. I’ve seems some examples of where people have used the P197 sunset filter to fake a sunset photo, and it’s worked quite well. I haven’t tried that yet however I have found that it enhances a sunset. It’s also slightly graduated so you can decided which part of your photo requires more enhancing with a deeper orange.
The P123 blue is of course to bring out the blue in the sky. Not necessarily meant to be used together however I wanted to bring in a little bit of blue colour into the photo even though it’s dominated with the orange from the sunset.
This is my latest photo taken with the Cokin filters. This time I used three filters, P123s soft graduated blue filter, P123f graduated ND8 and P197 sunset. Although not sunset the filter worked really well at sunrise. This was shot just as the sun was creating over some trees camera right. For a very short time (less the a minute) the sky turned pinkish, and I was able to enhance it with the P123s soft graduated blue and the P197 sunset filter. I used the P123f graduated ND8 filter so that I could expose for the foreground and the sky wouldn’t be blown out. Again this photo was taken with a Tamron SP AF10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II B001 and a Velbon 603R Sherpa tripod.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is no right or wrong way of using them. Stack them or use them individually. I do recommend taking a few individual shots with each filter so you can full understand how they effect the image individually.
There are so many how do I choose
I would recommend starting off with the Landscape #1 kit and perhaps a Graduated ND kit. I know i’ve only scratched the service as to what I can probably achieve with these filters.
Like most things if you check out different reviews on the internet you’ll see some positive and some negative. Personally I don’t have any negatives that I’ve found with these filters. Actually there is one, they are fingerprint/dust magnets. I’m still looking for the best way to clean them, but if you keep them clean you shouldn’t have any problems.
I love them. I didn’t know what to expect before using them but know that I have seen what they can do I’m pretty sure that I won’t be able to take a landscape with out using them. They are now permanently stored in my Lowepro Photosport 200 AW, which is my landscape pack.
Now I’m looking to get a non graduated nd filter so I can do some slow shutter speed work in bright sun. Fun Fun!