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  1. #1
    gnashings's Avatar
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    Filter Question!

    I am not certain if this is the right section of the forums for this question - please let me know if it is not (and my apologies if that is the case).

    Here goes:

    I mainly shoot B&W, and am somewhat proficient with basic filter knowledge (which colour does what, applications, metering issues, etc.) However, I have read this article http://www.acecam.com/magazine/filters-faq.html , by a gentleman who really seems to know what he is talking about (not to mention has been taking photos since before I was a twinkle in anyone's eye). His name is Lars Bergquist, and he suggests that green filters are a total waste of space in a B&W photographers camera bag! The reason I ask, I have purchased a large lot of filters, many of them of types I need, some that I could use, and some that are throw aways - all for a price that more than justified it for the ones I wanted alone! Which category do the assortment of greens fit into? Now, before I spend money and time on film to test this theory ( I was thinking a still nature shot including objeects of all the majour colours, some cut flowers and leafs and person behind them ), I thought I'd ask - can anyone conclusively prove or disprove the usefulness of green filters in B&W photography?

    Thanks for the input in advance,

    Peter.

  2. #2
    Aggie's Avatar
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    Bruce Barnbaum told me a green filter would help when I was taking some photos from inside a building with the wintertime brilliant green grass of California glaring in the doorway.

    Also let it be noted that early glamour shots used green filters or gree makeup to enhance portraits on black and white film.

    You may not use it often, but there are times you will find it useful.

    Now one that is hard to find but would also sometimes be good is a violet one.
    Non Digital Diva

  3. #3
    rbarker's Avatar
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    "Usefulness" is individually defined, so the proof is in smiling at your own images.

    I use a green filter occasionally to lighten (green) foliage when other elements in the image are apt to merge into that tone. Sometimes, they are helpful in differentiating between green tones, as well. For portraiture, I'd consider a green filter for a man I wanted to make more dramatic/swarthy, but wouldn't use one on a woman.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  4. #4
    Sean's Avatar
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    this is a great filter resource in list form. I use it quite a bit:

    http://www.jackspcs.com/filters.htm

  5. #5
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    The use of filters is very personal. One thing has changed in the last 40 years - way back then, you really did need to use a yellow filter to get "correct" tone rendering with b+w filters outdoors, skies would otherwise be too light or even print white. With modern films you do not need to do this, the color rendition is balanced. Filters do, however, add drama and a personal viewpoint. Some people always use red for landscapes, others always orange. Personally, I find the rendition with yellow too insipid, red excessive, orange about right except that it lightens red too much (words on signs, etc.) so the compromise I choose is a 2x yellow/green filter, which I use for all shots for consistency, even though the difference between this and yellow may well be slight. Fundamentally yellow passes green and red, absorbs blue, while yellow/green passes green and less red. For studio work, I would shoot people with no filter if they have great skin, otherwise I might use a yellow.


    What Lars Bergquist says is fundamentally right, like many amateur experts he is a little over-emphatic. The choice of a filter is really down to personal taste. If you have a lot of filters to choose from, you really need to do some tests (just 4 shots of the same scene with different filters would be enough).

    Regards,

    David

  6. #6

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    Like Ralph said it all depends on what you want. The link claims you don't need a green filter because a yellow filter does basically the same thing. That's like claiming you don't need two lenses because the first one you own does basically the same thing.

    Green wouldn't be the first filter I'd rushed out to get but then neither would deep red.

  7. #7
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Try it in a few different situations, and once you know what it does, see if you use it.

    I don't use a green filter too often, except pretty much in the way Ralph does.

    Filters I use most often for B&W outdoors would be medium yellow and orange, and I tend to shoot old-style films like Tri-X, Classic 400, and Efke 100. Occasionally I'll use a light yellow filter or red, but not often.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  8. #8

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    I could probably live with only two filters: a dark yellow (or orange) and a green. Lighter yellow filters usually don't offer any significant improvement in tones and the reds are often too dramatic. But, as stated previously, it's just a personal choice.

  9. #9
    Andy K's Avatar
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    I had never considered using a green filter until I read this thread. Now I wish I'd had one when I shot this

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...sited/SM11.jpg

    It might have helped lighten the trees at either end of the church.


    -----------My Flickr-----------
    Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.

  10. #10
    johnnywalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
    The use of filters is very personal. One thing has changed in the last 40 years - way back then, you really did need to use a yellow filter to get "correct" tone rendering with b+w filters outdoors, skies would otherwise be too light or even print white. With modern films you do not need to do this, the color rendition is balanced.
    David
    David are you sure? Without at least a yellow filter in my outdoor pictures there is no differentiation between cloud and sky (and bright blue sky will print white) without a serious underexposure on the rest of the picture. Like you my standard outdoor filter is a yellow-green, which in addition to separating clouds and sky and lightening foilage a bit is also great for caucasian skins.
    If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
    Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284

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