Gradient filter?

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Roll'
Posts: 124
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:30 pm
Location: Toulouse, France

Gradient filter?

Post by Roll' » Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:14 pm

Hi,

I am interesting in buying a gradient filter but I wonder whether its effect varies across the different shots...
Does someone have and use a gradient filter for panoramas?

Thanks,
Arnaud

terje.mathisen
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Location: Oslo, Norway
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We use exposure bracketing and blending instead!

Post by terje.mathisen » Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:06 pm

Check out the many, many HDR (High Dynamic Range) panos posted here, they are all produced by combining two or more exposures of each position, then bledning them in sw.

This solves not just the kind of problems gradient filters were used for, but many others as well, particularly images showing both parts in sunlight and parts in deep shadows and/or indoors.

My semi-famous lake mirror-image pano used 5-way exposure bracketing, then a bit of PS work to blend from the cloud highlights at the top to the darkest lake reflections at the bottom:

Image

Terje

Roll'
Posts: 124
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:30 pm
Location: Toulouse, France

Post by Roll' » Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:15 pm

Hi Terje,

Yes, I know this method quite well because I use it everytime using photomatix pro or tufuse.

But taking different exposures can be an inconvenience.
E.g. I use a panosaurus tripod head (I didn't want to spend thousands euros for my first panoramic head) and you pobably know this does not work well when shooting with a long shutter speed. The shot is quite often blurred!

Moreover, you cannot shoot a moving crowd using bracketted setting and this method requires a lot of place.

So there are advantages to use a gradient filter as well, hence my question.

Arnaud

astridhall
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Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:16 am
Location: Germany

Post by astridhall » Tue Oct 13, 2009 5:11 pm

Hi Arnaud,

I´m with you on using a gradient filter. I´ve tried shooting with one and without. To be honest, if you are using Lightroom it´s easier shooting without the filter and exposing so that you simply don´t completely blow the highlights, then apply the gradient filter in Lightroom or through Color Efex Pro 3.0 afterwards. Same applies for the Polarizing Filter.

I´m a purist at heart, but sometimes Panos are difficult enough especially when you shoot in a busy town like Toulouse. ND Grads are notorious in moving as they are not fixed. In addition to the camera you now have to have the ND perfectly horizontal as well or it shifts a diagonal line through your pano. If you shoot your panos horizontally that is still manageable with 3 shots. If you do shoot vertically... I´ve tried it and you only spot ND problems when assembling the pano. You normally don´t see them on the display when checking the shot while on location. So, unless you travel with a laptop and assemble the pano on location you will not spot an ND misalignment until at home. And then smartblend will correct with a grey "smear" across your beautiful pano.

So my experience is I leave NDs and polarizing filters off and put them on via software in Lightroom.

Astrid

Roll'
Posts: 124
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:30 pm
Location: Toulouse, France

Post by Roll' » Sun Oct 18, 2009 4:41 am

Thanks Astrid for your advice!

Buho
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Location: Maryland, USA
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Post by Buho » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:25 am

I've shot panos with a NGD filter on. Make sure it's rotated to be level. It can be used on only one row. Enblend can smooth out any differences pretty well. Still, I don't recommend it (it is easy to screw up, I did it more as an experiment). The above suggestions are great.
Eric

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