Question: Do you use filters when you take your photos?

Answer: In landscape photography I commonly use a polarizing filter, in addtition to graduated or hard edged neutral density filters. I use a polarizer to eliminates glare, saturate colors and add contrast. The neutral density filters are used to help control the intensity of light in a scene so to achieve correct exposure.

Neither film or digital sensors can record the contrast range that our eyes can see. When we look at a scene on a bright sunny day, our eyes can see all the way from the bright areas down to the detail in the dark shadowed areas. Our eyes can handle a contrast range of 12 to 14 stops of light. A camera's film or digital sensor can handle only about 3 to 5 stops. Therefore, when taking a photograph of a beautiful scene which includes a contrast range from a bright sunny sky to dark forground features, we will be disappointed in the photograph as the camera inability to record this high contrast scene. The use of neutral density filters allows us to balance the intensity of the light in the bright areas with the intensity of light in shadowed area to achieve correct exposure, thus the film or digital sensor records the scene as our eyes saw it.

It should be noted that neutral density filters are "neutral" to color. Which means that they do not change the colors in a scene at all. They only affect light intensity.

 

Question: Do you use a tripod?

Answer: Always, always, always.

With landscape or portrait photography you always want to achieve a picture with stunning clarity. A good quality tripod is absolutely one of the important and necessary tools of photography. Many photographs that I shoot I use shutter speeds which are so slow that to handhold the camera would bring disappointing results.