View Full Version : ND Grad Placement Tip

2-Jan-2010, 22:04
Hello, I'm rather new to LF photography and film photography in general, but after struggling with seeing the edge of my grads on my slow wide angle lens, I came up with a system. I've no idea if this is the best way, or even a new way of accomplishing this, but I thought it might help beginners like myself.

I've used the bottom of one of my film boxes, which I applied Velcro to the back, to serve as the grad when composing the scene.

I've applied the other half of the Velcro to my Lee Filter holder system.

I cut the film box into a sort of 'plane,' which matches the length of the shaded portion of the nd grad.

I compose the 'plane' as I would the grad, while looking at the GG until I meet my standards for the scene.

I then slide in the nd grad until the top of it is even with the top of the 'plane.' This way, the shaded portion of the grad should be right where you visualized it using the 'plane.'

Remove the 'plane' and you're good to go.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2662/4239001633_4924431b1f.jpg http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2646/4239001917_53325339c8.jpghttp://farm5.static.flickr.com/4040/4239776798_712ddfd567.jpg

I should note that using more Velcro than what I have shown makes it a lot more accessible, I just haven't gotten around to putting more on. But I hope that's helpful! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, because like I said, I'm a newbie :)

2-Jan-2010, 22:07


Lachlan 717
2-Jan-2010, 22:14
Why not just fold the top of the cardboard and rest it on top of the filter? Saves the hassle of the Velcro.

I put the cardboard's bottom edge across the bottom of the graduation, leave about 10mm extra over the top edge of the filter, then just fold the 10mm over. Gravity holds it in place.

Using card in either fashion is almost necessary when setting up for sunrises when it's too dark to see the demarkation easily. Let's you accurately set the change on the horizon.

2-Jan-2010, 22:19
the only problems I see with this is pulling on the velcro could also pull at the lens and front standard. Also, it doesn't look like it would be easy to slid it up and down as you would with an actual filter. I use black plastic sheeting slightly narrower than the filter that I've cut to length to match the gradation line. I use a binder clip to hold it in place on the fliter. I slide the filter down to where I want it and then remove the clip/card.

2-Jan-2010, 22:31
Lachlan: A windy day on the river is the reason why I started using Velcro, gravity doesn't always beat out the other forces. :)

Vinny: That's a good Idea, I see how that would be easier to slide than my approach. When I use my card I hold it out in front of the filter holder until it's where I want it, then bring it towards me until the Velcro catches. You are right with pulling on the Velcro though, I always detach it slowly and in a motion perpendicular to the front standard.

Lachlan 717
2-Jan-2010, 23:29
Lachlan: A windy day on the river is the reason why I started using Velcro, gravity doesn't always beat out the other forces. :) .

I've never had a problem with this method. If it's
windy, I just wait until the image has been set (composed, focused and locked
down) and then set the filter. As I am holding the filter
and card together when moving the filter, there is
no need to attach the card.

I have also used 3M Magic Tape and a black marker. You simply put a line of tape across the demarkation, leaving a folded-over tab on one side, and draw a black line where the merge is. Once in place, the tape is gently removed. I tested the 3M tape by leaving it on an old filter for a week and found no residue was left. I doubt some cheap tapes will work like this.

When I get around to it, I will probably make a proper mask out of thin ply or black plastic. This will be the length of the graduation, and it will have a lip on top (acting as my fold did with the card technique). Should be easy to use, stay in place in the wind and I'll be able to chuck it in my kit without worrying about damaging it.

3-Jan-2010, 10:41
That makes sense. I like the tape idea as well, I might make an attachable card to the filter itself, that seems like the most attractive technique at the time.