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Filters for Coastal Photography

There are a number of filters that we can make use of for coastal photography.


Used at around 90 degrees to the sun, improves clouds and makes the sky bluer. Used in harbours and the like allows us to improve reflections in water, and used to look through rock pools, we can get a clear view making the water surface disappear and giving clearer views. With some scenes we may also be able to see further cutting down haze.

Star filter

Used to get small stars to appear where the light catches an item, such as highlight stops on waves or water. Can also be used for night shots turning lights into stars.

Neutral Density graduated filters

Works like a set of sun glasses on the sky, allowing the sky to be reduced in brightness compared to the land or sea. This means that skies don't get blown and lost. These rectangular filters come in a variety of strengths and can be combined, they graduate from dark to clear around half way down.  There are a number of sizes available and a variety of holders. You can get different adapters that allow a single set of filters and holder to fit a lot of different lens sizes.

Coloured graduated filters

Fitting into the same holder as the graduated filters, these can give a variety of effects, for example you can have a blue filter used the opposite way up to a ND grad, so as to give the sea a more blue colour, or a coral coloured filter to add some colour to cliffs and sand. You can also get either special multi coloured filters or sets of coloured filters that can make a very colourful sunset, all you need is a setting sun. In addition to the standard holders you can get special holders that connect together allowing some filters to be at angles to others.

Black and white photography filters

Some digital cameras now have a digital filter for black and white photography. If not or additionally you can use either a screw or square filter that fits into the same holders and the ND grads. These filters have the effect of changing the tone, they lighten the same colour and darken the opposite. 

See also filter and the digital camera.

The Spinnaker at Portsmouth

Statue in Cardiff Bay

See also: Filter Section for more articles.


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