Best lens filter for shooting outdoors/landscapes – What are the options?

As an outdoors/landscape photographer, here are your must-have lens filter options.

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Landscape or outdoor imagery is one of the most popular subjects for photographers, due to the huge diversity of scenes you can capture. If you want to get creative with the images you shoot and enhance their quality, a lens filter is essential. But which is the best lens filter for shooting outdoors?

 

UV filter

An ultraviolet (UV) filter is a must for anyone interested in landscape photography, as this handy filter protects the lens of your camera. When you take photos outdoors, your camera risks being exposed to dust, grit, sand or other particles in the air. It’s also prone to knocks and scratches. A UV filter shields these from the lens and prevents it from getting accidentally damaged. A lens is usually far more expensive to replace than a UV filter. So, it makes sense that the filter should take the brunt of anything it comes in contact with. The good thing is, you can keep a UV filter on the lens at all times. This provides all-round protection from the outside elements.

 

Polarising filter

While a UV filter offers practical, protective benefits, you might also want to choose a lens filter that can enhance image quality and allow you to unleash your creative side. A polarising filter is just the job for this and is arguably the best lens filter for any landscape photographer. 

This type of filter alters the way it perceives light, giving it the capability to reduce glare, haze and reflections. It also boosts contrast and the vibrancy of colours. One of the common challenges landscape photographers face is dealing with changing light conditions. This is where polarising filters step up to the mark.

A polarising filter can invoke more intense colours in sky scenes. It can create a deeper blue and allow white clouds to truly stand out. For city views or distant mountains, the filter can cut out atmospheric haze. In foliage scenes, a polarising filter introduces a richer tone of green and can eliminate reflections off plants or trees. Images of lakes, glaciers or seas benefit from a polarising filter, with reduced glare and reflections, and more intense colours.

A polarising filter is also one of the must-have lens filters for outdoors if you snap images featuring glass. It can dramatically reduce glare and reflections at any given angle.

 

Neutral density filter

If you’re looking for the best lens filter for shooting landscapes, the neutral density (ND) filter is hard to beat. In particular, if you want to enhance the appearance of motion shots, this filter is a vital bit of kit to own.

An ND filter uniformly restricts the amount of light that enters a camera, giving you much greater control over exposure time. This helps to enhance motion in pictures, bringing static scenes to life. The filter also lets you use wider apertures in bright light, producing a shallower depth of field and sharper images, without overexposure. This can really enhance specific images, such as animals or birds, in outdoor scenes.

By manipulating the exposure time using an ND filter, you can create some dramatic effects to your landscape photography. Rushing water can be softened and smoothed, clouds can appear more striking, waves of blowing grass can be blurred and the movement of traffic or people can be heightened or distorted. 

Because of the wide creative scope of using an ND filter, the best way to get to know how to use it, and what it’s capable of achieving, is to experiment with it when you’re outdoors. 

There are various ND filters available, based on how much light they restrict, and these are classified by f-stops. The more stops a filter has, the more light it blocks out, and, thus, the darker it will appear. Choose different grades of filters according to light levels and times of the day, for the most desired effects.

Although popular lens filters for outdoors for manipulating light levels bear in mind that ND filters won’t alter the colour of your shots.

When choosing the best lens filter for landscape photographers, it’s always worthwhile learning from, and being inspired by, others. Take a look at our brand Ambassadors’ photography and their Instagram www.mygobe.com/ambassadors, for an appreciation and understanding of their work and our brand.