Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: Jonathan Cross on April 14, 2021, 06:06:55 pm

Title: ND grads
Post by: Jonathan Cross on April 14, 2021, 06:06:55 pm
I have been looking at a video of the work of a UK landscape photographer.  He made the comment that he hardly ever uses ND grads.  Instead he brackets, and then does an HDR merge in Lightroom.  He does manual focus, sets white balance and brackets exposure speed, not aperture nor ISO and uses 1 stop steps.  Obviously he does this with static scenes and is careful if there is a wind.

Is this the future or a common technique now?


Title: Re: ND grads
Post by: Martin Kristiansen on April 14, 2021, 11:27:31 pm
Sounds normal to me with current camera technology. What about his technique are you most curious about? I’m not fussy about WB with stills since I can set it in post and frequently I will also auto focus. Don’t even own ND grads anymore. I do have two variable NDs though.
Title: Re: ND grads
Post by: Jonathan Cross on April 15, 2021, 02:56:10 am
I agree about WB. Manual focus and aperture are to do with depth of field. Are 1 stop intervals the norm and how many shots, 3 or 5?

Title: Re: ND grads
Post by: Martin Kristiansen on April 15, 2021, 03:45:24 am
If I even bracket I don’t often do an over. Usually three at a stop under each one to look after sky’s. I don’t HDR. More likely to stack and select sky on the one image, the darker one and handle the sky separately. Actually with modern sensors I usually manage with one exposure.

PS new sky select is creepy good.
Title: Re: ND grads
Post by: Paulo Bizarro on April 15, 2021, 09:44:12 am
For the scenes I typically shoot, it is very rare for me to use ND grads these days. But I also do not bracket, because I can get away with 1 single shot. If required, I adjust in LR with the Grad tool in the sky.
Title: Re: ND grads
Post by: sbay on April 16, 2021, 11:29:08 am
I think using automated HDR like the merge in lightroom is rare now but used to be more popular maybe a decade ago. Most landscape photographers now would either (1) using a single exposure with histogram possibly shifted to the right (ETTR) because dynamic range is pretty good now or (2) manual exposure blending with brackets. Manual exposure blending has the benefit that it's quick and easy and gives the photog control over the transition lines (ghosting). Finally I know quite a few photographers that still use ND grads because of preference or not wanting to do post work of #2. Also I'm by the coast so the straight horizon line is not that big of an issue.

Might be different for architecture / real estate photogs as ghosting/movement is less of an issue so automated algorithms should work better. Not sure exactly what is standard here but my impression from talking with friends who do this professionally, they still take multiple bracketed shots, sometimes combined with lighting.
Title: Re: ND grads
Post by: Petrus on April 22, 2021, 01:06:43 am
It is not necessary to get stuck with methods which were needed with the limited exposure altitude of film and no post processing. With 14 stops of dynamic range from the modern sensors basically just one correctly exposed frame is enough.

Nobody is using color correction filters anymore either.
Title: Re: ND grads
Post by: rgs on May 27, 2021, 07:41:15 pm
I don't own any ND grads and haven't felt the need for them in a long time. I do have a +3 and a +8 ND as well as CPL, but that's all the filters I carry. I have an auto-bracket custom setup so I can fire off a 5 frame bracket very fast but I rarely do that (except for RE interiors where I blend one exposure with a flashed exposure). Mostly I use LRs ND filter or just brush in exposure changes as needed. It is pretty amazing how much data in a single frame can be manipulated.