On neutral density graduated filters
Many photographers have discarded their filters, preferring to perform fine-tuning with post-processing tools. Mark Bauer makes the case for filters and explains why he thinks they remain an essential tool
Not long ago, I was reading some forum comments regarding the announcement of a new filter and I was struck by how many people were of the opinion that filters, and in particular graduated neutral density filters (GNDs or ‘grads’), were an irrelevance as far as modern digital photography was concerned. Around the same time, someone commented on one of my Facebook posts, asking whether I was going to stop using GNDs now that the HDR function in Lightroom is so good.
The answer to the question is that I continue to use grads, as I think that they offer a number of advantages over the alternatives.
Before we look at those, though, I need to tackle one common misconception, that the graduated filter tool in Lightroom provides an alternative to using physical grads. While Lightroom’s grad tool is excellent for enhancing skies – giving you a huge amount of control over a number of adjustments and not limited to just exposure – it will only work if...