Filters or Blending?

Twilight and low tide at the tide pools of Tabletop Reef, South Cardiff State Beach/Solana Beach, California

A recent Twitter conversation about the pros and cons of graduated neutral density filters (often just called GNDs) made me think about my own approach towards handling high-contrast scenes. I’m not using GNDs anymore, rarely did so in the past, and I prefer exposure blending on the computer, or even just using “software GNDs” in a single exposure. I find it far more flexible* and prefer to have “pure data” without the (unalterable) effects of the filter in my original/initial exposures.

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Another Sunset at Tabletop Reef

Sunset at the tide pools of Tabletop Reef, South Cardiff State Beach, Solana Beach, California, January 2017.

Storms are drenching San Diego County and Southern California with much needed moisture. The first of them has just passed through and the only place to go for a walk is really the beach, because all trails are muddy and slippery, or closed entirely (to prevent further damage when people walk into vegetation to get around large puddles, etc.).

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