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Intruduction to Photography

Part 2




Photographic Filter:

In photography, a filter is a camera accessory consisting of an optical filter that can be inserted in the optical path. The filter can be a square or rectangle shape mounted in a holder accessory, or, more commonly, a glass or plastic disk with a metal or plastic ring frame, which can be screwed in front of the lens.

Filters allow added control for the photographer of the images being produced. Sometimes they are used to make only subtle changes to images; other times the image would simply not be possible without them.



Most use Filters:



A polarizing filter, used both in color and black and white photography, can be used to darken overly light skies. Because the clouds are relatively unchanged, the contrast between the clouds and the sky is increased. Atmospheric haze and reflected sunlight are also reduced, and in color photographs overall color saturation is increased. Polarizers are often used to deal with situations involving reflections, such as those involving water or glass, including pictures taken through glass windows.


Neutral Density:

A Neutral Density (ND) filter creates a reduction in light that is neutral and equal for the film or sensor area. This filter is often used to allow for longer exposure times whenever a longer exposure would normally create over exposure in the camera.

A Graduated Neutral Density (GND) filter is a neutral density filter that varies the effect with a gradient so it can be used to compress dynamic range across the entire scene. This can be beneficial when the difference between highlights and shadows of a scene are too great to allow for proper exposure for both.



Clear filters, also known as window glass filters or optical flats, are completely transparent, and (ideally) perform no filtering of incoming light at all. The only use of a clear filter is to protect the front of a lens.


Ultraviolet filter:

UV filters are used to reduce haziness created by ultraviolet light. A UV filter is mostly transparent to visible light, and can be left on the lens for nearly all shots. UV filters are often used for lens protection, much like clear filters.


Infrared (IR) Filter:

In infrared photography, the film or image sensor used is sensitive to infrared light. The part of the spectrum used is referred to as near-infrared to distinguish it from far-infrared, which is the domain of thermal imaging. When these filters are used very interesting effects can be obtained.



RAW Format

RAW file format is the uncompressed, unprocessed data file captured by the camera's image sensor.  The camera will ignore your white balance, sharpening, contrast and saturation settings. Instead of applying them to the RAW data, it will save those settings in a separate header associated with the RAW data. In addition to raw files from cameras, raw data from film scanners can also be referred to as digital negatives. Likewise, the process of converting a raw image file into a viewable format is sometimes called developing a raw image, by analogy with the film development.

The fascination with RAW is that it seems to magically give you the ability to "correct your mistakes. Remember that when you save an image in RAW, your image settings are ignored as far as applying them to the image, and are instead saved in a header.

When you open the RAW data in your image editing software (with the appropriate RAW plug-in installed, since every manufacturer encodes RAW a little differently), that header is read and used to display an image of the RAW data.

You may now manually adjust the settings and see the effect on the RAW data -- giving the effect of being able to magically "correct your mistakes." When you are happy with the adjustments, you would then typically save a copy as JPEG.

RAW is therefore a powerful option that most advanced digital cameras make available to photographers who do not want the camera to apply any in-camera processing to the captured RAW data, preferring to do that themselves in post-processing.


Rule of thirds:

The rule of thirds is a compositional rule of thumb in photography and other visual arts such as painting and design. The rule states that an image can be divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines. The four points formed by the intersections of these lines can be used to align features in the photograph. Proponents of this technique claim that aligning a photograph with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the photo than simply centering the feature would.


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