View Full Version : Red Orange or Light Red?

jonathan smith
6-Jan-2006, 12:11
I'm thinking of trying filters in the red range for more dramatic skies. I've narrowed it down to either red-orange or light red (don't want to overdo it, and the filter factor is less with both of these)

Which one do you use, or both, and what do you like about them?


6-Jan-2006, 12:33
i personally use none of them, because to my eyes all of that dramatic sky, heavy filtration vibe looks like overdoing it. it seems to me that landscapes with black skies and blazing white clouds have been a cliche for over fifty years now.

David Karp
6-Jan-2006, 12:56
I usually don't use anything stronger than a #12. However, when I do go stronger, I usually stay with the orange.

That being said, one of my photos that gets the most positive comments is a MF photo I took years ago with Ilford SFX200 and a Red 25 filter.

Filters being relatively inexpensive, I would make sure to have both of them in my pack just in case I need them. If you have one of those periodic camera shows/flea markets in your area, look for the filter seller(s). The one that comes around here usually has name-brand filters, in unopened packaging, at prices much lower than the traditional retailers. Or try used. Some stores, like KEH, sell used filters that cannot be distinguished from brand new.

Terence McDonagh
6-Jan-2006, 13:07
I use a minimum of a yellow (Tiffen #2) filter as I think blown out skies are just as bad as cliched black skies. It also helps "cut" haze. Typically I'll use an orange (Tiffen #22, I think). If I'm looking for a high-contrast, especially on rocks or rusted steel, I'll go for a red (Tiffen # 25) filter.

6-Jan-2006, 13:50
An orange filter will not always give you strum n drag skies. In fact, where I live a clear blue sky will render just right against foliage to produce good prints (APX 100 @100 stand processed in Rodinal 1:150). Yeah, I'm down to just under two cases of APX. Bummer.

Red filters are the Wagner of effects. Weary stuff.

Joseph O'Neil
6-Jan-2006, 14:30
I only use a red filter when I am shooting IR or near IR film, like Maco, or some old HSI I still have in the fridge.

Yellow does fine for me most of the time, but when I want to go "dramatic" as you say, I have a B+W orange-red filter (forget the number at the moment) i prefer to use over an all red filter, light or dark. Plain orange filters by themselves don't seem to do much for me either. No reason I can carve in stone, save to say I like the look better.

If you want to have some fun, experiment around a bit, try a green filter. It darkens the sky down like a yellow filter, but makes foilage a bit brighter. A good place to test out a green fitler is when you ahve some really dark foilage - like dark green pine needles against a blue sky. May not give you the effect you are looking for, but if you want something different from the look of a standard yellow/amber fitler, try that.

Filter facor for green I find is roughly the same as an orange filter, at least as a starting point. However, for my orange-red filter, the filter factor is for all intents the same as a red filter.


Ron Marshall
6-Jan-2006, 15:35
If the sky is very blue I use a #8 or #12. But when it is somewhat grayish, I need a 25 to achieve the same effect.

6-Jan-2006, 16:20
Ron Marshall alluded to an important point: how much effect you get from a given filter depends on the color of what you are photographing.

In North Alabama, except for about four days a year, light yellow, yellow-green, and light red seemed to have almost no effect, because the sky (except for directly overhead) was usually a hazy light gray. After a move to California, it was surprising to find that the guys who wrote in the books about using a K2 filter to get more realistic skies actually did know what they were talking about.

Don't arbitrarily limit your choices: filters (especially used) aren't that expensive. The effect you want is a personal choice, and will probably vary with the mood and composition of the image. Filtration to achieve what you expect will definitely depend on time of day, clarity of the sky, and sun direction, not to mention density and contrast of the negative and print!

John Berry ( Roadkill )
6-Jan-2006, 17:39
I'm about the same as Dave Karp. Lately though I have been leaning more towards graduated ND's

Ed K.
6-Jan-2006, 20:05
In addition to what has been said, different films will vary a bit in response to filtration too, as will the angle of your shot relative to the sun ( deeper or more faded blue ). Here in California, a yellow filter often gives a pretty natural look with many films. You might also try filter simulation from some scanned color shots using PS and either a filter simulator or the Power Retouch plugin to get some general ideas of what filters will do for your shots. If you get step up rings and the largest filters you need ( within reason ), you can sometimes better afford to get a nice range of filters.

CP Goerz
8-Jan-2006, 08:54
The strongest filter I use in the desert is a 23A, anything more than that and light rock looks chalky. A 25 is pretty good for details where you need to boost internal contrast ...my $0.02!

CP Goerz