Ken Duncan, Trey Ratcliff, Graduated Filters and Landscape Photography

Welcome to another episode of “Ask Ben,” where I try to answer all your photography related – well in fact any question, I don’t care whether it’s photography related or not, if I think it’s an interesting question, I might play it on the show. In this episode of ‘Ask Ben’ I answer a question about Graduated filters, my favourite photographer and the photographer that has influenced my work the most… enjoy!

To get your question on the show

Hit me up anywhere you can find me on social media, ask me a question. If I think it’s a think it’s a great question that a lot of people want to know the answer to, I will try and answer it on the show.

Now today I’ve got a couple of questions I’m going to answer today, because I’m going to smash through, I’ve got heaps of questions here, I’ve had so many questions asked since starting this show.

The first question I’m going to answer today is by a Jaryd Brazier.

What grade of LEE graduated filters do you use the most? And what is my opinion of using an ND graduated filter, over fixing it later in post?

So thanks for your question Jaryd, it’s a great question. First of all, for those of you that don’t know what a graduated filter is, is is a filter that goes in front of your lens and it slowly blends from dark to light. It’s perfect for landscape photography. Because, if you’ve got a bright sky, and it’s a few stops – usually two, three stops brighter than the foreground, you put this in front of your lens and it evens out the exposure across your image.

So what grade of ND Graduated filter to I use the most?

Lee Graduated ND FiltersWell I think it really depends on your circumstances Jaryd, and this is the challenge. And so, I actually have one of just about everything unfortunately, which gets quite expensive, and you’ve got to carry a lot around with you. If I think about my style of shooting as a landscape photographer, I’ll tend to be shooting at sunrise or at sunset, and quite often I’ll need a graduated filter for three stops of light as a minimum, especially if I’m shooting into the sun. Sometimes I will stack two ND Graduated filters up together, I might use a point nine and a point six together, and get five stops of light reduced. So really it does depend on the circumstance. The challenge with these grad filters, as opposed to just doing it in post-production, is that if the sun is on the horizon, the corners of the top two corners of your image can become a little bit too dark.

Luckily, that’s also very easy to fix in post. If you don’t have a grad filter, don’t panic, you can still get away with fixing it in post. But, having said that, if the dynamic range of the shot is too big, you’re going lose some detail somewhere. So I always suggest, if you’re shooting outside in landscape, grab yourself some graduated filters, they’re fantastic. I know they’re not cheap, but they will last you forever if you look after them. So there you go Jaryd, thanks for your question, hopefully that’s answered that.

My next question is from one of my most active followers.

Big shout out to you Michael Mirecki. Michael, you quite often interact on the Facebook page, through the blog, and I really do appreciate it. You’ve asked the most questions since I’ve launched this show, and I’m going to answer one of your questions today.

Who is your favourite photographer?  – and secondly – if they are a different person, who has been most influential on your work? 

Ken DuncanWell, my favourite photographer – I’ve actually got two photographers that I really admire, that I follow and that I love their work. First and foremost is Ken Duncan. And Ken Duncan, if you don’t know who he is CLICK HERE to check out his website– he’s an amazing landscape photographer. And he really put panoramic photography on the map in this country. He was the one that sort of pioneered going out – and primarily I think very rarely would he go outside of Australia, I know he does these days. But when he was just focused on panoramic images, fine art prints – he would go and find locations throughout Australia and take a panoramic image. And the most beautiful images, he really did have an art, a skill in taking some fantastic images. So he really inspires me from a landscape photography point of view.

Trey RatcliffAnd then you asked, if they are a different person, who has been most influential on your work? Well, it is a different person that has been influential on my work and that is Trey Ratcliff. And Trey Ratcliff, if you don’t know him, he’s well known for HDR and runs a blog called Stuck in Customs. And I don’t only admire him as a photographer, I also admire him as an individual that has – even though, through the face of being criticised and people saying HDR is horrible and all of this negative criticism and crap that he got through social media. He just pushed through and he’s got a huge following. His photos are awesome, I love his whole style. I love the HDR, and if you look at my photos, you’ll see that I do a lot of the same. So there you Michael, and hopefully I’ve answered your questions.

Remember, ask me any question you like

You keep asking your photography questions, and I will keep on trying to answer them.

One Response

  1. Great work Ben, Ken Duncan would be the one that inspires me the most as well. Absolutely love his Australian Bush photography and in fact, that was one of the reasons we decided to drive through central Australia instead of fly there. Looking forward to the next episode.

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