“The Images Are Full of Vibrancy”: Tim Swallow Reviews a Graduated ND Filter

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Cinematic, textural and vibrant are the words Tim Swallow used to describe the first photos he shot with a graduated ND filter. Find out how he used the filter and what he plans to do with it next. 

Words and Photography by Tim Swallow

There is a knock on my door, it’s the delivery guy. As he hands me the package I realize it’s from Urth and I’m excited. I unwrap my item and I’m greeted with the beautiful packaging of my Hard Graduated ND8. I open it and my token inside informs me I have planted 5 of 4,318,600 trees for Urth. This is awesome.

I contacted a model and my cinematographer and we planned an adventure. We are to shoot the first and last light of our day and I am eager to test my new filter. I don’t usually shoot on a tripod as I never like shooting the same spot twice for my personal work. I like fast and loose, even if the shutter is open. 

Shot with the Urth Hard Graduated ND8 Filter Plus+.

“The clarity and colours produced with the lack of extreme highlights or lowlights is so nice.”

Shot with the Urth Hard Graduated ND8 Filter Plus+.

I attach my filter to a 35mm prime lens and shoot on my digital camera, so I can instantly review the images and make changes. 

I love the motion blur I am achieving in lighter conditions with this filter. The clarity and colours produced with the lack of extreme highlights or lowlights is so nice. It can be a little hard to see my subject at times through the viewfinder however with the lens I am using I can gauge easily before pressing the shutter. 

Shot with the Urth Hard Graduated ND8 Filter Plus+. Shot with the Urth Hard Graduated ND8 Filter Plus+.

“The motion blur allows the image to breathe and at times replicate the brush strokes of a painting.”

Shot with the Urth Hard Graduated ND8 Filter Plus+.

The images look and feel more cinematic and textural. I would definitely use this filter for my personal art series as the images are full of vibrancy and the motion blur allows the image to breathe and at times replicate the brush strokes of a painting.

Typically a filter you may use for landscapes, I’m interested to experiment further in harsher conditions, in a fashion and portraiture space to gain in-camera results for balanced highlights in midday sun.  

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Tim Swallow

Photographer and Urth Ambassador Tim Swallow has a portfolio that effortlessly navigates between fashion, portraiture and music. Tim draws on his own natural exuberance in creating highly original images that are both refined and filled with spontaneous energy. He has built a client list consisting of fashion and lifestyle publications such as Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Monster Children, Russh, Stab and Side Note.