First, some very sad news. My B+W circular polarizer has taken a trip to filter heaven. I’d like to tell you it died protecting my lens from a motorcycle crash or falling on jagged rocks during a mountain climb, but the sad truth is that it met its end falling two feet off of my bed.
I’m not sure I’ve ever run across another piece of gear that allowed me to improved my landscape work as dramatically as this polarizer did. For taking reflections out of water, saturating scenes, and darkening skies you just can’t match the power of a circular polarizer in post-production.
If there is an important lesson in any of this, it is this; keep filters on your lenses. As sad as I am to say goodbye to my $80 circular polarizer, I’m happy I am not saying goodbye to my $800 lens. A good UV filter is one of the best investments you can make in lens protection. Brands I recommend include B+W, Hoya, and F-pro.
Okay, on to the good news. Thanks to a couple of friends who came to visit us in Cusco, I just got a Cokin graduated neutral density filter (P121s). I opted for Cokin over Lee or Singh Ray because I had never worked with ND grads before and wanted something cheap to cut my teeth on.
I’ve also held off on any sort of filter holder because I believe putting limitations on yourself is a great way to learn. It forces you to be more creative and makes you appreciate better gear down the road. As I start shooting with my new tool, I’ll be sure to post photos on the blog.