Filter recommendation for (blah) cityscapes?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Snap Happy, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. Snap Happy

    Snap Happy TPF Noob!

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    Hi all, I shoot mainly cityscapes, generally with a CPL on each lens to make the colors really pop. However, I'm headed to Chicago for Thanksgiving, and I'm predicting some gray/overcast skies.

    Anything I should look into filter-wise to give a creative look to my shots? I've had this issue before in other cities (Philly, I'm talkin about you), just ignored it and came back with so-so shots - my style is to shoot in vivid color, but I'm willing to try something new. ;)
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ND Grad filters to darken the sky. This should give you some more tonal range in clouds if you're predicting overcast skies. CPL filters do nothing when it's overcast.
     
  3. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Have you considered putting in a sky afterwards using Photoshop? A graduated blue filter is also helpful on very bright but grey days.

    skieur
     
  4. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The only problem with GNDs in the city is that you will probably darken building tops as well as the sky and give an uneven look. The GND is primarily for ocassions when you have a defined horizon. A normal ND will allow slower shutter speeds and affect the entire scene. Coupled with your CPL, it may possibly help to allow more definition of the sky. But you will also lose a few stops of exposure.
     
  5. Snap Happy

    Snap Happy TPF Noob!

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    Yeah I'm worried about slowing the shutter. I will be toting my trusty Manfrotto travel tripod, but I can't always count on setting up shop on a busy city street on Thanksgiving weekend. I am sifting through the filter choices on B&H and Adorama to see what might help.

    I'm also open to other suggestions. My style in sunny locales is to set to Vivid and get an eye-popping effect, but I'm totally open to other ideas. I thought about even desaturating the images or shooting more grayscale. Not sure what will look the best. Perhaps adding some "artistic" grain after the fact. I will say I had overcast skies my last trip to Paris, and I couldn't quite figure out how to save those shots while I was there. Should've put more thought into it beforehand perhaps.
     
  6. Snap Happy

    Snap Happy TPF Noob!

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    Oh, I forgot to mention, I did do a few faux skies with Photoshop after the fact on my Paris shots. The skies looked great but something about the whole shot looked off since the lighting on everything else clearly was made by an overcast sky. Looked incongruous, but maybe I'm missing a trick or two.
     
  7. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    An overcast sky produces colours on the blue side of the colour temperature. They can be warmed up in post. I use a software sunshine filter that works very well. An enhanced or warming polarizer on the camera is another approach. Picking or creating the sky is of course a challenge in matching too. In some cases, I have used a pale blue software graduated density filter. A straight horizon by the way is not necessary since location, gradation and the blend are controllable and you can also just select the sky, so that it doesn't interfere with the buildings at all.

    skieur
     
  8. Snap Happy

    Snap Happy TPF Noob!

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    Yep, that's right - I tinkered with my WB settings in Paris, but the buildings seemed to have a blue-gray cast to them. I shoot too many frames to spend a lot of time post-processing, so still trying to decide on an in-camera or on-lens fix.

    Wondering if my D300 can do anything about removing that blue cast that my D70s didn't do so well.
     
  9. blash

    blash TPF Noob!

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    I thought the general protips for overcast skies were:

    a) just don't have them in the shot
    b) take advantage of the fact that overcast skies put a nice even, natural light on everything a la dawn/dusk.

    But if you HAVE to get the sky in on an uneven horizon... sorry, don't know that one.
     
  10. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    blash is correct. If the light isn't right, the light isn't right, there's little you can do about it.
     
  11. Snap Happy

    Snap Happy TPF Noob!

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    Negatory. Took skieur's advice, ordered two Tiffen warming filters and tried them out there - success! I shall be shooting from the skydeck of the Sears Tower come hell or gray skies. When in Rome, learn how to shoot the damn sky, because you never know when you'll be back.
     
  12. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Very happy that you took my info. and made it work. Congratulations. :D

    skieur
     

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