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Make a Sunset with a Photographic Filter on your lens

Have you ever taken a photo of a beautiful scene, only to get home and realise your shot was flat and boring? Adding the right photographic filter to your lens can really help.

Fayoum house at sunset

You can’t always get the shot you want because the world’s just not set up for it, and that’s exactly what happened when I visited a lake near Faiyum in Egypt.

We were driving along the lake shore when I spotted a flooded house with a boat tied to it – instantly intriguing.

Although a great scene, it was pointless photographing it at mid day with the light directly overhead because there’s be no character or moodiness. Early mornings and late evenings are usually the best time to shoot this kind of thing and a sunset would be brilliant. But to get the shot I’d have to be facing North East and the sun doesn’t set there – so I chose to ‘cheat’ and use a photographic filter.

Add interest with a graduated filter

Even with a photographic filter like the Cokin Tobacco Grad I used on my camera, you still have to consider the light. If you just plonk a sunset filter on your lens and shoot in the middle of the day, it’ll look very odd indeed because the light’s not coming from down low as it would in the evening.

Using a sunset filter is never going to look as natural or as good as the real thing – but it will help you get the most from a situation provided it’s used correctly.

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