Daryl Benson Graduated Reverse &
Galen Rowell Neutral Density Filters
Daryl Benson reverse graduated filters – in neutral and orange density – were pioneered by Singh-Ray to solve a common lighting challenge for landscape photographers.
Unlike our Rowell grads, these filters are darkest in the center, clear on the bottom and transition from dark to light above the horizon. That makes them ideal to use during sunrises and sunsets with flat or defined horizons, such as the seashore, prairie or desert.
Typically, these scenes feature a bright horizon, dark foreground and medium-bright sky above the horizon. When you position the Benson grad with the darkest density on the horizon line, it will hold back the bright horizon, lighten the foreground through the clear portion of the filter and add a subtle gradation of brightness to the sky – all in a single exposure and without hours of post processing.
“Singh-Ray’s reverse grad solves a contrast challenge often faced by those of us who love to shoot sunrise and sunset scenes. These scenes rarely look ‘real’ to me in HDR. They do with this filter. With a little practice, you’ll be able to reduce and balance the contrast range to a level that can be captured in one exposure, with dramatic, natural results.”
Galen Rowell Graduated Neutral Density Filters
Many of the most dramatic landscape scenes we try to capture have a spread of highlights and shadows – bright skies and dark foregrounds – that exceeds the dynamic range of our camera.
The result is often an image that’s overexposed in the highlight areas or underexposed in the shadows – in other words, nothing close to the beautiful scene we were seeing. Some photographers take multiple exposures and try to recreate the scene with HDR software, but more often than not, the final image jumps out as “processed” and rarely looks realistic.
Why not try the simple tools used by top pros all over the world to achieve what we call “true high dynamic range ”? Produce exciting, realistic images that contain the full contrast of the scene, in a single exposure, right in the camera.
Singh-Ray pioneered these filters with legendary landscape photographer Galen Rowell. While they have since been copied by virtually every filter manufacturer, our Rowell grads remain the industry standard for optical quality and color fidelity.
“I was lucky to have known the great Galen Rowell. These filters have been behind so many of my successful images. I’m sure thousands of other photographers would say the same thing. We should all be extremely thankful that Galen and Singh-Ray got together to develop these indispensable photography tools!”
- These grads are for sunset and sunrise scenes with flat or defined horizons, such as seascapes and prairies.
- Wide-angle lens will deliver a more pronounced and noticeable graduation than longer focal lengths (50mm+).
- Meter the foreground and then the sky above the horizon. Use the filter density (1-4 stops) that is within one stop of the spread (for example, try the 3-stop filter if the exposure difference between foreground and sky is 4 stops). Set exposure in manual mode before moving the filter into position.
- These filters can be stacked together up to a maximum of four (4) stops of density, without sacrificing color fidelity. Many photographers also stack them with our Rowell ND grads.
- They are available in a variety of sizes, including those for P and X-Pro filter holders.
- Handholding these filters has become increasingly popular because it’s faster, there’s less gear to carry and it reduces the chance of vignetting (it’s usually the filter holder that results in vignetting).
- If handholding, consider a larger filter size, such as 4×6, which is easier to handle and reduces the possibility of including a fingertip or filter edge in your image.