Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Filters aren’t just for your lenses

Unlike in the film days, with digital we are ‘protected’ from the non-visible parts of the spectrum, ie the infra-red end and the ultra-violet ends. Most DSLRs have various ‘filters’ in front of the sensor, eg to block IR.

Some argue that UV filters are still of value, but as a lens protector, ie better to break a ‘cheap’ filter than the front of an expensive lens.

Of course, some lens filters are still needed, for instance it is difficult to ‘correct’ for glare in Photoshop, so sometimes a circular polarisers comes in useful. In addition, we all need ND filters to achieve LE shots.

But this post is not about lens filters. It is about the use of filters in another part of our photography system: over our eyes!

As some know, last year was not a good year for me: as I had three eye operations. Two for macular puckering and one for cataracts.

The first thing I noticed was that the eye I had the operation on had a WB shift towards the blue, ie my ‘good’ eye looks warmer relative to my ‘fixed’ eye. I have been told this is usual even in people with two ‘good’ eyes, ie the brain creates a composite WB.

It is easy to test your own eyes. Simply look at a light source by alternately closing each eye and seeing if your perception of the scene’s WB changes.

Although our post processing pivots around WB, in the field, shooting in RAW, WB is not that important.

What is important, however, is simply being able to read the camera and see the scene.

So most of us will automatically turn to our sexy sunglasses. But, bluntly, looking sexy is not that important to me: what is important is capturing my image.

Having experimented with various sunglasses, both prescription and non-prescription, I have finally settled on High Density copper, non-polarised, blue-blocking sunglasses.

The reasons are simple: I found polarised negatively impacted my ability to read my camera’s LV scene. I found glasses that were too dark also made it difficult to read the camera. I also found a full UV blocker made every thing clearer, ie blocking UVA, UVB and UVC.

So, in the end, I went for a rather ‘cheap’ solution from Ideal Eyewear (http://goo.gl/4nvpgr) that fit over my prescription glasses.

At $18 (in the US) these glasses are cheap enough, that if I lose them or break them, I don’t care. I can, however, now can see the scene in a quasi-HDR way, eg clouds pop.

Bottom line: I recommend you try out this type of sunglasses, and let me know how you get on.

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