Paul Thomson

Woodland Filters

Paul Thomson
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Duration:   8  mins

In woodland photography, there are many technical aspects to consider in order to improve your photographs. These aspects can be more than composition, lens selection, lighting, and color. To further enhance your compositions, you can employ lens filters. In this premium video lesson, Outdoor Photography Guide’s Paul Thomson shows how he uses two separate lens filters in his own woodland photography: the circular polarizing filter and the dark or black mist filter.

Paul takes you to an autumn scene in a British forest, where he sets up his tripod to shoot a tree with colorful leaves and selects the circular polarizing filter. Why use this filter? It helps reduce the glare coming off the foliage. The CPR filter not only removes glare but also enhances contrast to bring up the colors. As he rotates the filter, the glare begins to reduce as the colors pop. Dramatic colors should be the goal in woodland photography.

The other filter Paul recommends for woodland photography is the black mist filter. He discusses three different variations: quarter stop, half stop and eighth stop. He demonstrates the half stop black mist filter by placing it on top of the circular polarizing filter. The effect is to soften the highlights of the central tree in the image. In woodland photos, you are seeking atmosphere and ethereal emotion in your images. With this black mist filter, you are creating softness, an almost cinematic scene.

For your own woodland photography, Paul recommends you capture the image with the filters on your lens and also with them off—two different versions of the same composition. Then you can blend these two versions in editing. When shooting woodland photography, the overall goal is to experiment with filters until you capture the composition you are seeking.

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