When photographer Carla Step travelled to Mallorca, Spain for a short trip, she found herself limited by time and rapidly changing weather. But with the help of a few essential filters, Carla was able to overcome the obstacles that come with shooting outdoors.
Words and Photography by Carla Step
These photos were taken in Mallorca during my visit to my friend, Cecilia Renard. I spent a couple of days exploring different corners of the island and following Cecilia to her favorite spots.
When I packed my backpack for this trip, I knew I would need my Urth Essentials Filter Kit. We were concerned about having bad weather, so a polarizing filter would be a must in high cloud situations to keep the sky blue, as I always want. It was also essential to have an ND filter in case we found that the sun was very strong and I wanted to be able to balance light and keep the aperture open.
“It removes the glare from the sea and lets you see its authentic color.”
The CPL Filter
I have to confess that I’m a fan of the CPL filter. Since I started using it, I couldn’t stop. It goes wherever my camera goes, especially when I shoot exteriors.
On this trip, I really enjoyed using it to keep the skies deep blue when it was cloudy. But another thing that I loved is how the sea changes when you use the polarizer. It removes the glare from the sea and lets you see its authentic color. For those who are not familiar with CPL filters, you have to rotate it until it works correctly with the sun direction you have, depending on the surface you want to avoid reflections.
The ND8 and ND1000 Filters
Another great thing about this kit is, of course, the two ND filters. Some of the pictures were shot at midday and the sun was very strong. That light condition would have required using a very high speed shutter and a closed aperture. This would have caused the sea to be frozen and very sharp, which would have diverted the attention from the subject of the photo. The ND filters reduce the light coming into the lens, letting you to slow your shutter speed to capture motion blur or widen your aperture to capture shallow depth of field.
I used the ND8 for daylight situations when I wanted to work with wider apertures. It provides a 3 f-stop light reduction which helped me to prioritize the aesthetics and not to be forced to work in a way that wasn’t determined by the sunlight conditions. I used the stronger ND1000 when I wanted to capture motion blur and depth of field in the brightest sunlight conditions.
“It goes wherever my camera goes, especially when I shoot exteriors.”
The UV Filter
The UV filter helped to protect my lens and cut atmospheric haze to keep my photos sharper.
Above all, my favorite thing about the Essentials Kit is how compact it is. It is awesome just to carry all the filters safely stacked together and to not have to worry about putting them inside a box every time.