Tips to Use Graduated Neutral Density Filters for Landscape Photography

Since the camera was invented, we have tried to copy one of the greatest wonders of our body; the human eye. Unfortunately, despite being over 100 years since the first time that we captured light, we are still far from overcoming Mother Nature.

Why? Because in the visible spectrum your eye sees much better than your camera.

How to Use Graduated Neutral Density Filters for Landscape Photography

Dynamic Range

The parameter that describes this behavior is called Dynamic Range. This basically defines the difference between the minimum and maximum value of brightness that a device (like your eye or the sensor of your camera) is able to record. In the real world, Dynamic Range defines the ability of your camera to see details in very dark areas and very clear (bright) areas of the scene.

If you’re wondering how much more your eye sees, the answer is staggering. Your eyes have about twice as much range that they can see and capture.

How to Use Graduated Neutral Density Filters for Landscape Photography

The problem

That’s why when you look at a marvelous sunset with your eyes you’re able to see all the details in the scene (in both the sky and the land). But as soon as you try to capture it with your camera, you’ll get an overexposed sky or a underexposed foreground. The Dynamic Range of your camera is only able to capture detail in one of those areas so you have to choose.

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