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Which Lens Filters Are Still Needed for Digital Landscape Photos?

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Here’s a helpful 12-minute video by landscape photographer and vlogger Thomas Heaton about lens filters. With the emergence of digital photography and powerful editing software, the benefits of some filters can be recreated digitally while others cannot.

Heaton explains why he still needs polarizing filters but doesn’t need ND filters and graduated ND filters. But just because he doesn’t need them doesn’t mean he doesn’t use them.

Heaton shows how a circular polarizer can transform the look of a waterfall scene.
Heaton shows how a circular polarizer can transform the look of a waterfall scene.

“For me, the love of landscape photography comes from my love of the outdoors. I want to spend as much of my time in the outdoors as possible and not [sitting] in front of a computer,” Heaton says. “It’s the craft — I love the craft of photography. Pulling out an ND filter, dropping it in front of my lens, and seeing an image come to life in front of me and getting instant gratification — that is why I use these filters.”

“I love to create an image, and to create an image in the field there and then while I’m surrounded by the atmosphere, the wind, and the rain,” he continues. “That is where I get the love of photography. […] So I really want to get as much of that done in camera as possible.”

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