An old darkroom technique to try next time you’re out photographing landscapes.


Thanks to Squarespace for sponsoring
this video. The team and I were on our way back from a shoot when we happened
across this landscape shot. In this video I demonstrate an old darkroom technique
where I use black card in front of the lens or ND filters in front of the lens
moving around instead of a graduated filter and the reason is that sometimes
the graduated filter can’t sit to block the area of light that you want to block
so this technique you might find quite interesting. So you can see we’ve 8
seconds, I’m running an 8 second exposure now and with the little pop of flash
under the bridge at 8 seconds, we’re getting some of these lights. There’s not
enough lights on on the other side of the riverbank, it’s a shame they don’t
light their Cathedral up but the sky is still a bit bright for 8 seconds
exposure so we’re gonna have to wait for that to drop down a little bit darker
and then run again 8 second exposure with the pop of flash under the bridge
but, yeah, it certainly could be quite a pleasing shot once the sky’s a bit
darker in this one. Unfortunately the bridge wasn’t illuminated so we decided
to pop a little bit of flash for extra illumination this was easy to do
manually because I was running an 8 second exposure and had plenty of time
to trigger the flash. Oh! Wow, so things changed quite dramatically
their, lights came on under the bridge, the cathedral lit up after all but all
this light from under the bridge added way too much light and there’s too
much exposure here and down here on the bank so what I did was an old trick of
basically taking some filters and then looking through camera and seeing where
I could block them and like we used to do in the darkroom with burning and
dodging it’s just moving the filters around basically in the brightest areas
and as long as you keep them moving they won’t form a sharp edge and that allowed
me to darken down some of the other areas of the image that were too bright.
So by using those filters in that area allowed me to do that in front of the
lens to darken down those key bits I’ll take a comparison test shot now without
them and you’ll see the difference that they actually make. This video is brought to you by
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12 Comments

  1. Anthony Hurst October 22, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks for that tip and what a great photo!

  2. Randy12Gerard October 22, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Great tip

  3. Andrei Dima October 22, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Great tip!

  4. ANGRY PARROT Creative Studio October 22, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Well, "simple" techniques like this one distinguish the professionals from the amateurs. Because it is not always the gear but the experience too. Really nice tip Karl.

  5. Marcos Miyata October 22, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    Never imagined something like this!

  6. Joseph Asghar October 22, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    Neat trick! I thought I knew it all ๐Ÿคฃ

  7. Ralf Weyer October 22, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    Never thought about this! Great tip, thanks a lot Karl ๐Ÿ‘

  8. eva eriksson October 22, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    Nice trick! That was new to me! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

  9. Alan Vandever October 22, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    50 yrs. experience behind the camera, 35 yrs. experience in the darkroom and I never thought of doing that. Great video.

  10. Tim Blake October 23, 2019 at 2:23 am

    Neat little method. Never tried it before, I might just have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!!

  11. edmdeposit October 23, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    The best thing is, you don't even need actual filters – you can do it with a sheet of anything, it just takes a bit of practice

  12. John MacLeod October 23, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    Useful technique, which I often use. However, I found a problem using the ND filter in the way you show in the video, in that the filter refracts the light a little, meaning you can get a double image in places such as along a skyline (one image unshifted with no filter and a second shifted by the filter). I've stopped using a plain ND like that and now either use something opaque (card or fingers!) to block the light completely, or wave a ND GRAD in front, keeping the filter in the light path at all times. Moving the grad from its ND area to its clear area ensures the refraction is "always on" in the light path and no double image! P.S. if you use fingers as a stopper make sure they'r not lit from behind and that they appear black in the image, otherwise you'll get a lovely sausage-shaped fleshy colour cast which is nigh impossible to edit out in post!

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