Landscape photographers have always been drawn to the quality of light at the beginning and end of the day, but shooting during those precious seconds when the sun itself hovers above the horizon can be a tricky affair. Controlling the exposure so that the sun is correctly exposed and balanced with the rest of the image has, in the past, meant using a very strong traditional neutral-density graduated filter, with the result being that the sky at the top of the frame appears darker than is entirely natural.
LEE Filters has come up with a solution in the form of the Reverse ND – a filter that is most dense in the centre of the filter, rather than at the top. This allows the photographer to precisely control exposure as the sun sits on the horizon, ensuring it is balanced with the remainder of the frame. It is particularly suited to seascape photography but can, of course, be used in any scene in which the sun is on the horizon and threatens to affect exposure.
The crucial difference between the LEE Filters Reverse ND and other similar products on the market is the control over density. Many similar filters suffer from having a very dark ‘stripe’ in the middle, which fades far too sharply and whose effect can show up in the final image. LEE Filters’ manufacturing process means the transition between the dyed and clear areas of the frame is extremely smooth and gradual, giving a natural and pleasing result.
As professional landscape photographer Mark Bauer puts it, ‘Reverse ND grads are extremely useful, as they help to control the light in situations where the horizon is extremely bright. When using one, you can prevent the sky from overexposing, while ensuring the area at the top of the frame isn’t too dark. I’ve experimented with reverse grads in the past, but their transition zone was too hard, and the result too obvious. With LEE Filters’ Reverse ND grads, however, the transition zone strikes the perfect balance between being strong enough to control the light, but soft enough to blend in to the sky unobtrusively.’
Available for the Seven5, 100mm and SW150 systems, in strengths of 0.6, 0.9 and 1.2 ND (which equates to two, three and four stops respectively, and relates to the density in the centre of the filter), the Reverse ND is designed to be most effective with lenses of 24mm and wider. As with all LEE Filters’ resin ND grads, it is manufactured by hand in the UK, to ensure the most consistent results and permit precise control over the finished product.
Reverse ND Filter (Seven5 System) - £81.80 each (excl VAT)
Reverse ND Filter (100mm System) - £114.34 each (excl VAT)
Reverse ND Filter (SW150 System) - £125.56 each (excl VAT)
For further information, contact LEE Filters on +44 (0) 1264 366245