Nature works on its own program. It marches to the beat of its own drum. Blink and you’ll miss that special moment; the glint of light coming through the clouds and reflecting off a puddle in just the right way, the wind whipping up a mini tornado of sand and dust, two cubs play fighting out in the open as their mother fixes an intense warning stare towards you.
Words and Photography by Urth HQ
Compared with other types of photography, such as portraiture and architecture, nature and wildlife photography don’t give you the luxury of resetting and retaking your shot.
Having the right lens filters attached to your lens can be the deciding factor in getting that winning photo. That’s why we’ve combined the best filters for nature photography and created the Nature Lens Filter Kit Plus+ so you can be prepared for any conditions nature throws at you.
Here, we look at each individual lens filter in the kit one by one, explaining what it brings to your practice.
UV filter for sharper images & a protected lens
Many photographers never remove their UV filter because it acts as a protective layer over your lens, without changing the colours or light levels of your images. If you’re out in nature, chances are you’ll be exposing your lens to the elements: water, sand, mud and dirt can all damage or dirty your lens if you’re not too careful. A UV filter is far easier and safer to clean than a lens, and if worst comes to worst, far cheaper to replace. If you trip on a rogue tree root or fall while you’re climbing up a rockface, a UV filter can be the difference between needing to replace a $30 filter, and needing to replace a $2000 lens.
UV filters are also known as ‘Haze filters’ as they cut through any atmospheric haze which can cause images of landscapes to look washed out. By using a UV filter you will be able to reveal the distant details and create much sharper images, which is especially great if you’re shooting on film because film is extremely sensitive to UV light.
CPL filter for richer and deeper colours
A CPL filter is a must-have for your nature photography pursuits. Our CPLs cut out 99.9% of the silvery light that bounces off reflective surfaces like wet rocks and the tree leaves , giving you bolder, richer and deeper colours.
With enhanced colours, you’ll see greater contrast and more definition in the textures you’re capturing. This is especially important in nature photography, where textures are everywhere. Get this right and viewers will be able to feel the grains of sand, run their fingers through a stream or grasp the rocky face of a cliff, just by looking at the photograph. Without sufficient contrast, textures will blur, and your photos will look flat.
When you’re venturing out in nature you will often come across beautiful rock pools and river beds that are filled with colour, texture and life. It’s a whole new world to capture but the reflection of light from the sky will make this difficult. A CPL filter will allow you to cut through reflections and capture what you’re seeing with your eyes. So, If you’re looking to shoot through water, to capture fish in a lake or seaweed in a rockpool, a CPL filter will really come into its own.
ND filter for creative control & depth of field
If you’re looking to bring out the drama in your nature photography, a Neutral Density filter is crucial. ND filters work by reducing the amount of light coming into the lens. This in turn enables you to slow your shutter speed to capture beautiful motion blur, or widen your aperture to capture shallow depth of field, all without overexposing your photos.
Why does motion blur work so well with nature photography? Essentially, moving objects like the water in a waterfall will blur and blend, while still objects like the rocks in the water will look more pronounced.This combination makes a photograph look alive, and is often what makes the difference in your nature and wildlife photography.
And why does a shallow depth of field work so well in nature photography? A shallow depth of field is often used to isolate one or two objects in a scene, like a single flower in a field. Because there’s often so much to photograph in any one landscape, using a shallow depth of field can help give your image a clear anchor point for your eye to focus on, especially in dense or busy settings.
The Nature Filter Kit Plus+ comes with an ND64, which blocks 6 f-stops of light from entering your lens so you can harness the power of slow motion blur and shallow depth of field.
Graduated ND filter for balanced light
In the Nature Filter Kit Plus+ you’ll notice there are two types of ND filters. In addition to an ND64 filter, the kit also includes a Soft Graduated ND8 filter. A soft graduated ND filter is darker on one side than on the other, however the transition between the two is smooth. This works wonders when you have bright light in one half of the frame and low light in the other, as you can simply rotate the filter to be darkest where the light is strongest.
For example, if you are shooting in the forest where the sky is bright but the foliage in the foreground is darker, you can use a soft graduated filter to tone down the brightness of the sky, giving you a clear, sharp and balanced image. When there’s a faster transition from light to dark, like on a horizon line at sunset, a hard graduated filter will work best.
Lens filters for nature photography – all in one kit
Whichever terrain you’re in, the Nature Lens Filter Kit Plus+ will enhance the dynamics and subtle details within your nature photography. This compact kit will help you shoot sharper, more vibrant, visually intriguing and well balanced photos.
Made with adventures in mind, each of the filters in this kit screw together, with a lens cap for either end of the stack so it’s ready to slip into your camera bag whenever you need it.