Positioning an ND Grad?


TPF Noob!
Dec 1, 2008
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San Francisco Bay, CA
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Hey Folks,

How do I position an ND grad properly? I have a set of soft edges filters (1,2, & 3 stops) and do you place the horizon on the part where it starts fading from clear to black, where it starts fading from black to clear, or somewhere in the middle of that transition? Maybe I should just buy some hard edge grads? Haha.
I have the P series filters from Cokin.

If you want blue sky and a a good foreground exposure the dark side of the filter goes on top, to filter out too what is normally the over exposed "white " skys. The hard edge grads are good for flat horizons like the ocean etc.

I still have to take several shots with the grad filters in different positions to get it just right.

I'm going to order a couple of Tobacco filters soon. I've seen some very cool effects on Flikr with the Tobacco filters :)

If you have a depth of field preview on your camera, use a small aperture and the DOF preview to position the filter. I find it much easier to the see the transation between the light and dark zones of the filter when the lens is stopped down. As to where to exactly you should place the transition, just experiment by setting your camera on a tripod and moving the filter around.
Second Steph. There's no substitute for eyeing it. Move it slowly and small increments at a time. You are composing the image by moving the filter so take your time and check out multiple options until you land on something that fits your vision.

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