Tell me you cant see the Mermaids?
“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2020
Tell me you cant see the Mermaids?
“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2020
This image named “Elemental” was taken last November in the Snowdonia National Park, Wales.
Over the years I’ve visited Snowdonia national park many times mainly from my hiking & climbing days with my Husband but also my Grandmother’s family are Welsh. As a child we used to get the train from Lancaster to Crewe where we changed to Prestatyn. The family lived in a small village called Dyserth in North Wales which happens to be famous for an impressive waterfall where the family lived at the top of over a hundred years ago but sadly got washed away in floods. My Grandmother & I always stayed at Auntie Ivy’s house then the rest of the local family would come to visit. I always remember the Welsh language being spoken by Uncle Len who happened to be a great local artist but also a bit eccentric. The female family members used to tell him to speak English as it was rude in front of the guests which never failed to amuse me.
Having to share my personal space with others, something I prefer not, although the photographers I met were extremely friendly. One photographer with a lovely Sony A7R iv made me laugh when I really shouldn’t have, you know when you get the giggles at the wrong time? He was saying “how typical that the water was so rippled when he’s seen many images on social media of this location with silky smooth water, how annoying it’s never like that for him”. I looked at another photographer I’d been chatting to, we couldn’t keep our faces straight. We politely explained it’s down to long exposure.
“Make your heart like a lake with a calm, still surface and great depths of kindness.” – Lao Tzu.
I cant really share my exif data as this image was;
Haida Filter M10 round drop in ND 3.0 (10 stop) to smooth the water & clouds.
“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2020.
Haida Filter tutorial from my home in the Scottish Highlands during the COVID-19 lock-down. Sharing my thoughts about filters.
Please note; If using any of the 100mm x 100mm (square) ND filters in M10 filter holder and you don’t wish to use any of the round “drop-in” filters, you must use the M10 “drop-in” light barrier which is simple and easy to use the sealing ring to prevent any light leakage (also provided in the kit).
Born and raised on the west coast of England but never felt that inner something with seascapes the way mountains affected me.
However…the coastlines of the Hebrides have such a special type of light, it’s very different to mainland, almost purer, more magical with extra sparkles. The skyscapes alone are enough to make an exceptional composition of their own in a hauntingly beautiful manner.
Makes you feel like it’s got you snuggled up in the most ﬂuffy goose down jacket in the coldest of winter. My eyes are peeled, constantly searching for pockets of light, unusual compositions, wildlife focal points, shapes/patterns. The diversity with its hidden coves, brooding skies, windswept moorland, pristine beaches, textures of the machir where orchids are known to grow, narrow twisty turvy roads and interesting mountains, such a feast for the eyes and a way to ﬁne tune my compositional skills.
Highland cows, sheep and wild ponies roam the beaches and roads. Walks become slower the longer you stay. I’ve done all the tourist trap locations and now prefer to ﬁnd my own hidden gems for more heart warming feelings.
When your photographing the same locations and even compositions as everyone else it can soon become unsatisfying and boring. Whereas when I ﬁnd my own beauty spots I can put more emotion into the ﬁnal image, inviting the viewer right into the moment along me. Post processing is more enjoyable as you ﬁnd yourself with more creative licence which is something I do enjoy.
My images helped guide me. Life can be tough with many rocks in the road often leading to a bumpy ride. So, if your feeling gloom and down beat go chase some light, free yourself from the daily grime. Let your emotions rule your actions, don’t follow the rules, make them up yourself, listen to your heart.
Don’t follow the crowds, be who you are.. Be different, unique, your own person, don’t worry what others may think of you. Express your emotions, don’t be afraid of looking like a fool. You’ll probably ﬁnd that most people will admire any faults as it proves your only human, we aren’t perfect.
Welcome to my test review of the Haida round “drop-in” Circular Polariser and Neutral Density 1.8 (6 stop) combination filter and Haida Red-diamond soft graduated neutral density 1.2 (4 stops).
If you enjoy landscape photography I cannot stress the importance of investing in a good quality set of filters. I’m well aware of what it feels like having a restrictive budget and fears of making the wrong decisions buying new gear. This is where I hope I can help by providing my hand on heart honest opinion. Haida is not the cheapest filters on the market but by no means the most expensive for the optical quality achieved, you really do get a lot of bang for your buck! We all strive to buy the best lenses so why scrimp on a cheap filter and ruin optical quality, it makes no sense to me.
When Haida offered me the opportunity to test their M10 combination-filter with built-in light barrier I was intrigued, to say the least, questioning myself what the downfalls if any would be. Whilst stacking filters can work and something I do regular, however, this practice is not optimal for a couple of reasons;
The more I thought about it the more I couldn’t wait. Initially, I planned waterfalls for this particular test. Although I could see it being very useful after a midday rainstorm which happens a lot here in Scotland when the sun bursts out it’s great to slow down the exposure a wee bit and allow the filter to do the work. Rainfall hasn’t been great the past few days so I headed to the beach at sunrise instead.
Inserting the filter into the Haida M10 filter holder is incredibly fast, it simply drops between the holder and lens creating a perfect seal from any stray light. Oftentimes in the past, I’ve struggled with the issue of light leakage and had to resort to putting hats or cloths over the gap between filter and lens, not an ideal situation unlike any of the Haida M10 round “drop-in” filters such as this combi filter which have a built-in light-barrier.
This is an ND 1.8 filter meaning it will lose six stops of light. But don’t forget it has the added CPL which generally lose between 1-2 stops of light, collectively this will provide a total of almost eight stops. For me personally, I like a six-stop ND for moving water as it doesn’t blur everything to oblivion like say a ten stop would. A six-stop shows slight movement which I prefer to portray. A neutral density filter should be exactly what the name suggests “neutral” in every which way and let me tell you all the Haida NDs I’ve ever tested are all neutral, no crazy coloured undertones, no vignetting and no loss of sharpness from corner to corner. What you see is what you get.
If you’re not wanting the polarising effect you can simply rotate the small dial (three gear linkage design ) on the mount independently, very smoothly to reduce or completely remove depending on the scenario of the scene. Once you start turning, you’ll instantly see the polarisation intensify on your live view screen. I tend to always rotate a CPL 360 degrees first to check the availability of contrast, saturation, and reflection. The strongest effect takes place at an angle of 90 degrees from the sun, ie make sure your line of sight is perpendicular to the direction of the sun. The filter is easily removed or exchanged by gently squeezing the red plastic tabs on the top and lifting it out without disturbing your composition. The choice is all yours and easily very adjustable.
Image of raw file with a filter on, zoomed in 100% in Lightroom to demonstrate maximum sharpness of the rocks. It’s clear to see the quality is second to none, excellent detail even in the darkest of shadows at blue hour.
For this very demanding scene above with the bright sunrise and dark foreground, you need the best support from your gear. Let me tell you this filter made my job very easy, provided excellent control over the whole dynamic range, ultimate sharpness, no colour cast or vignette, and really made me smile. Constructed from high-quality optical glass, each filter has ten layers of anti-reflective coatings, scratch-proof, provides the best clarity, includes the famous nano multi-coating to reduce reflection, waterproof (meaning any droplets of water literally roll off like beads, no ugly smears) and the dreaded fingerprints wipe off easily with a soft microfibre cloth.
The M10 round “drop-in” filters are available in a selection of: ND 0.9, 1.8 3.0, 4; CPL; Clear-night; GND-0.9 1.2; ND+CPL 0.9 and 1.8.
Earlier this year I tested the Haida Red-diamond medium 0.9 (3 stops) read review which totally stole my heart since then it’s rarely been off my lens and I can’t wait to tell everyone how thrilled I am in using it. My love affair with this series only intensified, I had to try the Red-diamond soft graduated neutral density 1.2 (GND 4 stops) filter. Packed my kit and off I went to Aberdeen for sunrise to see how the soft grad stood up to the medium and let me tell you I was not disappointed.
The main purpose of a GND filter is to balance exposure in an image that contains a bright sky and darker foreground. As you can see from the photos below this filter is rectangle in shape and sized 100mm x 150mm, providing flexibility to move the filter up or down within the filter holder for ultimate control. Providing such a beautiful soft progression from dark at the top where you would place over the sky to clear at the bottom in a neutral manner and achieving endless creative possibilities.
What makes this series stand out from its predecessor and other brand filters are listed as follows:
Images below-showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @35mm with no filter and with Haida Red-diamond soft GND 1.2 (4 stops). No post-processing on either other than lens correction in Lightroom. As you can see the soft GND significantly transforms the quality of the image.
All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China.
My overall conclusion is both filters are superiorly optically and I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending to anyone whether beginners or advanced and using for my own portfolio.
I hope this provides you with some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions.
I’m excited to introduce the new Haida M10 adapter ring, M10 filter holder, M10 round “drop-in” circular polarizer, M10 “drop-in” light barrier, M10 round “drop-in” neutral density 3.0 (10 stop) and Red Diamond medium 0.9 (3 stops).
This test review was based on a shoot around Assynt, a remote area of the Northern Scottish Highlands using my Canon 5d mark iv ( full-frame camera). Tested at the widest focal length I use, 16mm with my Canon 16-35 mm USM L lens. Gitzo tripod and ball head.
As a landscape photographer, I have learnt how invaluable a great filter system is to my arsenal of tools. It’s something you can buy a bit at a time to build up your collection, but choosing the correct brand is the tricky part. Thankfully for you, I’ve made the mistakes and now ready to reveal the latest from Haida filters, the only brand for me.
I started using Haida filters in January 2018 with their Pro 100 series. As much as I regard them highly, I can’t stress enough how Haida’s design team have really upped their game and left their competitors way behind with their latest generation M10 filter holder system for the 100 mm series filters, including a selection of round “drop-in” filters (CPL, NDs and Clear-night) also their Red Diamond series ND’s (soft, medium), Hard GND, Reverse GND and horizon GND. These were all launched in October 2018 at Photokina and are now readily available. Haida has really listened to their customers and actually done something about it.
They kindly sent me their M10 filter holder and a selection of filters early in January 2018. So far, they have travelled almost two thousand miles with me on a road trip from the North Coast of Scotland to Southern England and a couple of local photoshoots. I wanted to really spend time in the field conducting this review and putting everything through its paces to give my most honest opinion. I can proudly say I now know them so well I could use them blindfolded. The whole set up – from screwing on the adapter ring to sliding in your first filter – can be done in less than 10 seconds!
All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China. Haida’s new generation are such a genius method and design.
Haida M10 filter holder kit for the 100mm series filters includes the filter holder, CPL, light-barrier, adapter ring and leather case.
Works solely with the Haida M10 filter holder which is part of Haida’s new generation. Constructed entirely from aluminium for strength and light-weight, and also slim in design. From my experience, this helps with any unnecessary vignettes when shooting at wide angles. You simply screw it easily onto the front of your Lens. This is the foundation for the M10 filter holder: it’s a bit like building a house – without a solid foundation there’s no point installing the windows.
These can be purchased to fit most popular lenses in sizes 49, 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72, 77 and 82mm.
This is Haida’s successor to their 100 Pro filter holder. The new M10 filter holder is made from aviation-grade aluminium and PC materials for super strength and is lighter in weight than its predecessor. Its genius design makes it exceptionally user-friendly, with super-fast set up, and effortless to change and remove filters. Simply clip the M10 filter holder onto the M10 adapter ring by using the red push-and-release (spring clip) locking lever (see photo below). The innovative design gives a very secure and solid connection, and at the same time, the ability to rotate 360 degrees – which I found especially useful when using the Red Diamond medium 0.9 ( 3 stop) graduated neutral density filter. The non-slip sponged coating on the bottom of the filter holder provides more of a grip when rotating which I think is a nice touch.
It’s designed to take up to three filters ( 100 x 100mm or 100 x 150mm @ 2mm thickness, compatible with other brands at the same size ) on the front of the holder if you wish to stack, and one filter slot at the rear closest to your camera lens where the new round “drop-in” M10 filters are used. Boasting a choice of neutral density filters ( 3, 6, 10 and 15 stops), circular polariser (included in the kit), clear-night (light pollution filter), graduated neutral density filters ( 3 and 4 stops) and ND + CPL ( 3 and 6 stops). But only using one at a time which is the only downside if you like using several ND/s and a CPL as I often did with its predecessor. If you don’t wish to use any of the round “drop-in” filters, you must use the M10 “drop-in” light barrier (see photo below) which is simple and easy to use the sealing ring to prevent any light leakage (also provided in the kit).
Housed in a smart black eco-leather zipped storage case, with a handy carabiner attached to the top which can be neatly clipped onto your tripod or belt for ease of access. Internally lined with a lovely grey velvety fabric with a net pocket for storage. Also included: screwdriver, extra pair of filter holder slots and gaskets to provide a third slot on the front of the Holder )which I’ve left on permanently).
My favourite of all the filters has always been the CPL. A vital piece of kit every landscape photographer should have and something which cannot be replicated in post-processing. I rarely shoot without – it’s the perfect light manager. And let me tell you, Haida`s new M10 round “drop-in” CPL will never be off my lens.
I was curious to test if any slight vignette was present, and I can happily confirm that there is none at all, even pushing it through a tough test at my widest 16mm on a full-frame camera. It gives amazing contrast, and cuts through some of the haze, especially on the clouds and the polarisation is visible in the sky producing some great detail. Removed almost all the unwanted glare and the see-through effect is well achieved on the water. Added some beautiful saturation which gives an overall instant pop to the image. Always remember with any filter – it brings into the equation a fourth dimension to the exposure triangle. With a CPL you will generally lose between 1-2 stops of light. As you can see in the comparison EXIF data below, I have lost around 1.5 stops.
Inserting the round “drop-in” CPL into the M10 filter holder is the fastest I’ve ever used, never mind witnessed. It simply drops between the holder and lens creating a perfect seal from any stray light. It’s almost like gravity does the work for you – once you hear the click it’s locked in place. There is a three gear linkage design on the mount which rotates independently and very smoothly. Once you start turning the adjustable black dial which is centrally placed on the top of the filter, you’ll instantly see the polarisation intensity on your live view screen. I tend to always rotate a CPL 360 degrees first to check the availability of contrast, saturation, and reflection. The strongest effect takes place at an angle of 90 degrees from the sun, ie make sure your line of sight is perpendicular to the direction of the sun. The filter is easily removed or exchanged by gently squeezing the red plastic tabs on the top and lifting it out without disturbing your composition.
Constructed from high-quality optical glass, each filter has ten layers of anti-reflective coatings, scratch-proof, provides the best clarity, includes the famous nano multi-coating to reduce reflection, waterproof (meaning any droplets of water literally roll off like beads, no ugly smears) and the dreaded fingerprints wipe off easily with a soft microfibre cloth.
I have to say how solid it feels, plus it’s very fast and easy to use. In the past, CPLs I’ve used can be fiddly, hard to screw on especially when it’s freezing cold, you’re up at silly o’clock waiting for sunrise and half asleep. Haida has really listened to their customers and produced this truly clever design making our life so much easier. It’s an absolute pleasure to work with.
The round “drop in” filters are available in a selection of: ND 0.9, 1.8 3.0, 4; CPL; Clear-night; GND-0.9 1.2; ND+CPL 0.9 and 1.8.
Images below-showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @16mm with no filter and with Haida M10 “drop-in” CPL filter. No post-processing on either other than lens correction in Lightroom. Demonstrating how the CPL has retained every bit of sharpness.
The Red Diamond filter I am testing is a medium 0.9 equaling 3 Stops. Rectangle in shape and sized 100mm x 150mm, providing more flexibility to move the filter up or down within the holder for ultimate control, homogeneous graduated blending from light to dark and endless creative possibilities. I really enjoyed using this filter in combination with the M10 filter holder. It’s fun the way you can rotate the holder if you want to darken the sky on one side or turn it upside down if you’re looking over bright highlighted water.
I predict this latest series from Haida becoming “The big daddy” of them all for landscape photographers the world over. Haida named this new series “Red Diamond” as they’re amongst the strongest diamonds in the world, therefore being the strongest of all Haida filters.
What makes this series stand out from its predecessor and other brand filters are listed as follows:
The round “drop-in” 3.0 ND, equalling 10 stops of light with its built-in light barrier, is particularly useful for any super long exposures. Oftentimes in the past, I’ve struggled with the issue of light leakage and had to resort to putting hats or cloths over the gap between filter and lens, not an ideal situation at all.
Before I started my love affair with Haida filters over a year ago, I was using Lee filters. My go-to neutral density filter was always the Big Stopper but more times out of ten the images produced had a slight purple tint and vignettes at wide angles. Although it’s easy enough to change in post-processing, it is another job. All these wee jobs can mount up a lot, meaningless creative time and enjoyment in the great outdoors with your camera – and surely they’re the best parts?!
I was curious to test if any vignette were present, and I can happily confirm none at all was found. You would think attaching any filter over your lens would affect the level of sharpness, but it’s clear to see from my findings below that there is no loss of sharpness from corner to corner – it’s pin-sharp. Absolutely no colour tint was found, making this one of the most neutral NDs I’ve ever come across. I particularly liked the design of the plastic holder that the round glass sits in, making it ultra-easy to drop in and remove the filter holder without any disturbance to the composition. The M10 round “drop-in” series of filters feature the same nano pro coatings, producing excellent image quality. It’s clear to see that Haida has really thought through every single part of the process and know the issues that can be caused in the field.
Finally post-processed in Adobe Creative Cloud
I hope this provides you with some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions.
“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2019
Jenny Cameron is a Fine Art Landscape Photographer living in the Scottish Highlands with her Husband and two dogs. Her passion for the wilderness began from a love of travel & outdoor life. Sadly Jenny was diagnosed with a rare bone disease a few years ago in her hip called Avascular Necrosis. This put an end to her mountain adventures ( hiking, winter climbing, skiing, backpacking to name a few). She spiralled into a dark place for a short time but thankfully found her solace in landscape photography and her journey began in October 2015 never looking back. 2016 was a great year, several of her images were exhibited in three American Art Galleries, followed by her first Publication on the front cover of the prestigious Scottish Field Magazine January 2017 issue. The New Year brought ten of her Scottish images published in two different Coffee Table style Photography Books. In July 2017 one of her most popular images “Altnaharra” was chosen for an Exhibition in England. Jenny continues pushing the boundaries and looks forward to the future.
How did your love of Photography start?
I’ve always enjoyed taking photos from a very young age and trawling through golden oldie family snaps. I think it hit me when I realised I enjoyed taking photos of landscapes more than I did of my beloved dogs which sounds terrible but its very true. Anyone who knows me knows my dogs are my children and absolute world to me.
What’s your Long-term Photographic Ambition?
I would love to help and inspire other landscape photographers in some kind of educational way, maybe workshops &/or tutorials in the future as its something I get asked often. I enjoy chatting far too much, so that with my photography passion would be heavenly.
Where does your photographic inspiration come from?
My love of the outdoors, the way the light plays on the land totally blows me away everytime. Living in the Scottish Highlands I’m surrounded by so much beauty, it never seizes to amaze me.
What would consider to be your greatest achievement (or achievements) in your photography to date?
My proudest moment would have to be my first Publication on the front cover of Scottish Field Magazine with my beloved girls ( cows). As most will know I live on a farm in the Scottish Highlands, in 2016 we had some adorable cows. I use to visit them a few times a day with my dogs, they knew we were coming & started to recognize my voice & would head towards us. I grew quite attached to these cow, would often sing to them & tell them all my woes of the day. So, to have my gorgeous girls on the front cover of such an old & prestigious magazine displayed in all the major newsagents/ supermarkets across the country was a very proud and emotional moment for me.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve ever taken & why?
Its got to be one named Wilderness taken in the County of Sutherland, the far North of Scotland. It was one of the first ones taken with my first full frame camera ( Canon 5d mark iii), it became very popular on social media & seemed to put my name on the map so to speak. I was driving home after a day shooting on the north coast, one those moments where I had to stop the car and jump out. It was a cold autumn afternoon as the sun was setting, I wouldn’t call it a sunset, it was just the way the light softly tipped the area, really very beautiful & unforgettable experience.
What’s inside your kit bag?
Canon 5d mark iv
Gitzo Systematic 5 series Tripod
Gitzo offset ball head
Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens & Hood
Canon 70-200mm USM L Lens & Hood
Remote Shutter Release
Cable Release ( as back up)
Too many batteries
What’s inside your dream kit bag?
I pretty much have all I need right now. Possibly if money was no issue Id love to play with the Canon 400mm F2.8 L IS ii for the odd wildlife shot.
Which piece of kit couldn’t you do without?
My beloved Gitzo tripod. Tripods often get forgotten about to any extent as people think the camera or lens is the most important piece of kit. For me after coming home from two photo tours with disappointing images, the only issue was with my tripod. Although I thought my old Tripod was sturdy enough, it didn’t move visually on location but once the images were uploaded to Lightroom it was clear to see slight movement, it really got me down, I blamed myself. Once I bit the bullet & upgraded to the Gitzo there was no looking back, I even went to the length of having some spikes made which screw into the bottom of the legs.
What words of advice would you give to beginners?
Find your favourite photographers & take inspiration from them. Practice, practice & more practice, its the only way. Know your camera well, read the manual over & over until you know it inside out. Don’t rely on post processing to save you, without a great base image you’ll never make it work. Don’t let gear go to your head but also don’t buy cheap.
Buachaille Etive Mor known locally as “The Buachaille” is a Scottish Munro at the head of Glen Etive. Driving up the A82 from the south your suddenly in awe of this majestic peak. I remember 20 yrs ago a climber had a horrible accident ..I was heading back to the car after a hike over Rannoch Moor when a guy approached me asking for help, one of his climbers were suspended on a ledge almost at the top of the Buachaille & could I drive him to the Hotel ( not many people had mobile phones back then & even if they did they wouldn’t have a signal). I’ve never driven so fast in all my life, we finally got there & phoned for Mountain Rescue. It seemed to go on forever waiting for the Helicopter to arrive, I think about 2 hrs plus it was going dark. The Climber was rescued & taken to Fort William Hospital, his knee caps were all smashed, they said he would never walk again. The following summer I heard he was back on the same mountain climbing again … Such an inspiration, never give up!! This area is in my heart and soul .. I truly love it, my happy place.