Blog,  From Toffa Berg Photography,  Travel and Landscape Photography


In these day and age with powerful editingsoftware like Photoshop and Lightroom, have filters become redundant? My answer is both yes and no. The old effectfilters like softfocus, starfilters, colorspots, colourfilters for b/w photography, colour-correction filters, warm-up and also the common skylight-filter is now easier and more precise to apply in Photoshop or Lightroom, and to be honest is a large bulk in the camerabag I don’t want to be lugging around anymore. The vacant space in the camerabag is better put to use for a new lens, a flash or some other piece of gear or simply a good reason to move on to a smaller bag. But some filters is still beyond the reach of the image-editing software, and they are the Neutral Density filters (both standar and graduated) and the Polarizer.
Yes, one can apply a digital ND-grad filter in both Lightroom/ACR and Photoshop with no hassle or resort to HDR-prossessing, but both these techniques have their shortcommings compared to doing it in-camera with a physical ND-grad filter. With apply a digital grad-filter in an image-editing software requires that one have a file with no highlight clippings (areas where the information have been blown to 255 white in photoshop), then there’s no data to recover. And if one lightens the bottom half there’s the problem of added noise to the file.
With HDR-prossessing other problems comes into play, like alignment of the images used to make up the HDR-exposure and ghosting causted by movment within the frame during the different exposures like leaves of a tree, treetops, birds coming in and out of frame, people. Even though the software have been better with regards to these problems, there’s still a long way to go. So there’s still benefits to do it right in-camera still.
There’s also a time-saving aspect of doing it in-camera. One don’t have to go home and import a bunch of files and then sort and prossess these to get the effect. And time save in the point of capture is more time spent shooting in the field.
The polarizer, in general the circular polarizer for all you digital shooters out there, can’t be replicated digitally. The “magic” this filter adds to a shot must be done in-camera as there’s no way to remove glare caused by reflection of wet foliage once the image is shot. Neither is there a “one press” button to remove reflections as one get with the polarizer without spending hours upon hours painstakingly cloneing these out in Photoshop. But the darkening of blue skies so often assosiated with the polarizer is one thing that’s a easy fix in post. So for all you guys out there who just use the filter for that effect, there’s a digital alternative.
There’s also a last benefit with the polarizer, and that is that a polarizer is also in effect a 2 stop standard ND-filter.
Last but least, the standard ND-filters. The computer can’t replicate the effect this filter has in regards to capture the movment of time. Some things is best left to the analog technology, and this is one of them. Besides this there’s also the benefit of stopping down the exposure to let you use a larger aperature or slower shutterspeed in conditions where one otherwise would have to settle for a compromise or return later in the day to shot to get the same effect.  

Toffa Berg, a dedicated landscape photographer hailing from the picturesque landscapes of Stavanger, Norway. Toffa's lens is a portal to the intimate and less-traveled corners of Norway's natural beauty. With a passion for solitude and an aversion to city life, Toffa's photography is a reflection of the quiet moments and serene vistas that capture the essence of the Norwegian wilderness. He runs both Toffa and Knotten and Toffa Berg Photography. Under this author profile he writes in the power of being a photographer and not a vanlifer.

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