Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Toolbox: Optical Filters for Black & White
Filters for maximizing the potential of black-and-white desaturation methods
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
Heliopan's #22 Orange filter uses high-quality Schott glass construction in a filter that suppresses blues to darken skies and waters. This results in heavy contrast, pronounced clouds and sharper horizons from reduced haze. The slim mount eliminates vignetting for lenses as wide as 21mm. Estimated Street Price: Begins at $46.
A yellow filter is a lighter hue for slight contrast adjustments and more natural skin tones with reduced, but not eliminated, imperfections. For nature photography, yellow filters absorb blue while passing green and red light, which helps to separate hues of green for enhancing contrast between the leaves and tendrils of foliage. They're nicknamed "cloud filters" for bringing out clouds at the same time that they darken skies. They're also useful in enhancing the texture and contrast of snow. Yellow filters are generally considered the go-to black-and-white filter for the natural, moderate look of most tonal enhancements.
B+W's #8 Medium Yellow (022) filter lightens green, yellow, orange and red while suppressing violets and blues. It's an ideal choice for landscapes for the better separation of green foliage and heightened contrast between clouds and darker blue skies. Estimated Street Price: Begins at $19.
Hoya's K2 Yellow filter enhances and establishes contrast between blue skies and clouds while helping to separate these elements from foreground subjects. It also produces natural-looking skin tones for use with people and portraits, and it will reduce the "cooling" effect of flash photography when shooting color. Estimated Street Price: Begins at $20.
GREEN AND BLUE FILTERS
Green filters help to separate brightly colored flowers, leaves and stems when shooting foliage without darkening skies as dramatically as a red filter. When used in portraiture, they enhance the more reddish aspects of skin for a dark tan look when shooting outdoors, so lighter green filters are a good choice for achieving pleasing skin tones. Keep in mind that with faces this also will increase the splotchy look of blemishes and bad skin.
Blue filters, which aren't used as often, darken and muddle most colors for very dense imagery with limited contrast between desaturated colors. Unlike most other filters, they can be used to reduce cloud contrast against a blue sky rather than enhancing it. They also emphasize mist and fog, making them a great choice for capturing spooky, low-key photos with lots of shadow.
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