New blog category: With and Without!
I would like to introduce a new category to my blog: With and Without. As you might know, I am a NiSi filters ambassador and therefore I am able to use a lot of different filters on my camera. But what is the function of those filters you might wonder. Well, in this rubric, I would like to show this. Every post in this category will consist of two images (and a few single images to make it more fun to read). One taken with a certain filter, and one without. I will add a short description about what the actual filter does and why I choose to use it.
I hope it will inspire you, give you some insight on what I do, and I hope it will help you to decide which filter you would buy. In my opinion using filters is the best way to get better results. If everything is right in-camera, you can spend more time in the field instead of behind a computer fixing stuff. Photography is about being outside, creating beautiful images!
NiSi Natural Night filter
To kick off this rubric, I choose the NiSi NaturalNight filter. This filter is developed by NiSi to reduce the negative effects of light pollution. As with all NiSi filters, this filter is made of high quality optical glass which is Nano coated on both sides. If you love night photography, this is the filter you are looking for! If you’ve ever done night- or astrophotography in or near a city, you might have wondered what the cause of the (ugly) yellow glow in your images is. Even when you are far away from a city, you might observe a yellow glow near the horizon. The answer is simple, this glow is caused by the mercury vapor, sodium and other Low CRI lights that are used as streetlights. These lights are often yellow and orange, and are the primary cause of light pollution. To get rid of this colorcast, but more important, the glare, NiSi developed a filter that blocks out the wavelengths emitted by these streetlights. If you put this filter under a spectrometer, you will see that the yellow-wavelength is blocked out. The graph will show a gap at this place. But before it gets to technical, lets see what this means in real life.
To show this filter’s effect, I’ve chosen this image of Hamnøy, taken from Hamnøy Brygga. It is a heavily light polluted area. You find yourself standing on a road underneath a couple of light posts, the whole village has bright lights and, all houses are lit. This means there is not only an extreme yellow colorcast, but also a strong yellow glare around all light sources.
Because of incoming clouds, I first focussed on getting the proper image, after which I got rid of the filter and, just before the clouds moved in completely, took the image without filter. I used the exact same settings on both shots, with a correction of half a stop for the image without the filter. Because that is the amount of light the filter blocks.
I did the same post-processing actions on both images. And I must say, the results blew my mind. I expected a good result from this filter but nothing like this. Not only is the colorcast gone, more important, the ugly glare is gone. It might be possible to remove the colorcast in post-processing, but it is impossible to remove the glare. I think the glare is the ugliest and most harmful to the image, it causes stars to faint and details become less sharp. Therefore this filter is really worth your money if you like night sky photography.
Even on Lofoten, with aurora photography, I find it amazing. One would think that light pollution is not such a big issue over there but it is! The fisheries and fish farms use big lights and therefore the ugly glare is always present. Now that I have this filter, it is gone!
Thanks a lot for reading
That’s it for this week’s article! I hope you like the new blog category. If so, please feel free to share on social media! And, if you like my photography, please follow me on Instagram @harmenpiekema If you want to read ore about filters, check out this post.