A conversation with my inner self about my recent photography adventures and how I needed to disconnect with the world.
Being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 aged 44 hit me very hard, it’s left me battered and bruised physically and mentally. Id go as far to say the mental scars have been the most diﬃcult. It wasn’t until after my radiotherapy that I was able to go on holiday. It’s taken the whole of 2019 to build up my strength to travel, visit my fav wild areas. My hair has started growing back after losing my long locks from the red devil himself AKA doxorubicin (a chemotherapy ingredient). Still very conscious about my hair, preferring to wear a hat if I can get away with it. Hair envy is deﬃnatly a thing!
Didn’t matter what I looked like on the outside or what my Husband assured me, it was all about how I felt on the inside, almost like what I felt on the inside is what I looked like on the outside if that makes sense?
We planned an extended road trip from our home in the far north of Scotland to the southern tip of England in the county of Cornwall. Spent an enjoyable week in the Snowdonia National Park in Wales. Mountains will always be part of me the world over, however it was too busy from what I’m use to. Having to share my personal space with others, something I prefer not, although the photographers I met were extremely friendly and I enjoyed the bannter. 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.
Caught the night ferry to Brodick on the lovely Isle of Arran off the west coast of Scotland. I was actually able to lower my shoulders and breathe. We toured the island for a few days but still didn’t feel myself and quite guarded. It was time to move on, caught another ferry to a different part of mainland Scotland on the Kintyre peninsula. From there we travelled north to my beloved Glencoe. Now, I was really starting to relax, the weather gods were on my side and such a great time of year having the place virtually to ourselves. Glen Etive in all its magniﬁcent glory, stags roaming down the middle of the road. From there we headed further north through the mountains of Kintail to the Isle of Skye. The weather did not disappoint, managed to get a few milky ways, such amazing compositions and sky quality. I know this island like the back of my hand, having spent the past thirty years visiting at least once a year. However, I felt the need to take it one step further.
Other days were spent watching waves crashing over my camera, was an endless job of shoot and wipe…Great fun though and certainly put my Haida ﬁlters through their paces which never failed to let me down with the ultra thin nano pro coating it was very easy to wipe. Having spent time on several Caribbean islands often twice a year in a different life many years ago where I escaped the madness from my crazy mixed up life, where I would go to rebalance.. I found the Hebrides very similar emotions from the beaches and lifestyle.. Freedom to be whoever you want, not a care in the world, feeling the sea breeze on your face providing the ability to mentally set you free. Not being judged, no stares or looking you up and down as if judging what designer label your wearing or rather not. How well groomed you look. No makeup, simply me being me.The sea washed over the sand leaving it all pristine and clean, like it did for my unbalanced head and emotions.. Cleaned my soul and black thoughts. I was falling in love with this wild corner of Scotland with its energetic seascapes and remote mountains. Literally making me feel alive. Sat in the sea with camera and tripod in December doesn’t sound too appealing but I have to tell you how empowering it feels. Photography is an extremely powerful tool to heal and express yourself. Open your eyes. Discover the solitude and silence it brings, nature will soothe your soul. Don’t make any plans, go with the ﬂow and let the universe lead you as more times out of ten plans never work out. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the moment.
All images taken with Samsung Galaxy 9 plus.
“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2020
On arrival the light was bouncing all over the place, it had been one of those typical Scottish days where you get all four seasons in one day, this can prove to be very successful for landscape photography as it seems to bring the purest of light, what I call “sparkling- light”. However, this can bring difficulties with light management -You need to be in control of the light, not the light controlling the image. To do this I used a Haida M10 CPL which is my go to filter to control highlights and Haida Red Diamond Medium 0.9 ( 3stops) which produced some real magic. The Callanish stones no matter how many times I visit never fail to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, there’s something very spooky but quietly spiritual about it, makes you think about the history which dates back to the stone age over 5000 years ago. The sky didn’t pop as much as I hoped due to the time of year and day time temperatures. I stayed till dusk watching the sun dip below the horizon, all very peaceful at such an iconic location.
Camera settings Without filters = ISO 100, F11, 1/25 – With Red Diamond medium 0.9 and M10 round “drop-in” CPL = ISO 100, F11, 1”3 sec @16mm. Canon 5d mark iv, Canon 16-35mm L lens, Gitzo tripod & ball head.
I hope this provides you some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions. More info and my test reviews on Haida’s website.
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 Red-diamond Reverse Graduated neutral density 0.6 (2stops) filter. Using a Canon 5d mark iv ( full frame camera), Canon 16-35 mm USM L lens, Haida M10 filter holder, Gitzo tripod and ball head.
Over the past three weeks I’ve really put this filter through its paces especially on the beach with sand blowing around & enjoyed every single minute with it. My first shoot was on the remote Scottish island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides & then finally back on the mainland in the northern county of Caithness. I really wanted to spend time to see how versatile this filter really is. Both these locations were ideal as the island has countless seascapes & Caithness is very flat which suits the filter as nothing to break the horizon line, ie ..mountains, trees etc.
The filter was presented in a sturdy metal tin with foam insert for protection & lovely chunky cut out which makes it easy to open even with gloves on. One thing I must not forget to mention is how every piece of equipment from Haida, whether its a glass filter or simple adapter ring that I own is always first class, thoughtfully designed & perfect partner for the discerning photographer. Even the smallest of detail, having the particular filter type etched on the top so when their all in your filter case it’s easy to see which filter you wish to select.
What’s the difference between a graduated neutral density filter & a reverse graduated neutral density filter?
A graduated neutral density filter is dark at the top where you would place over the sky & gradually reduces its density towards the bottom. Whereas a reverse graduated neutral density filter works on the principle when shooting sunrise/sunset, the highest luminance is near the horizon line. Therefore, the filter needs to be the darkest in the centre region resulting in more detail of the highlights & providing excellent exposure control.
As you can see in the image below, the bottom of the filter is totally clear and the top of the filter comes with a smooth/ gentle transition between the dark & clear areas of the filter which gives a natural balanced exposure & better quality/cleaner image. This would be difficult to replicate in Lightroom with the use of a gradient filter as you need it to be graduated in both directions. I could bracket my shots but it’s much nicer achieving it as near perfect in camera than having to sit at my computer all day.
Where to position the filter?
Positioning the filter is imperative, you need to be quite precise by placing it just over the most highlighted areas around the horizon line. Thankfully having it sized 150mm on its longest edge gives more scope & easy to use as you can move it up or down very smoothly till your satisfied with the correct position, as shown in the video below.
One major potential problem when using the Reverse graduated ND filter is anything that seriously breaks the horizon, be it some headland, mountain, building or tree is going to get very dark quickly, because the darkest part of the filter is right on the horizon transition area. However for many seascape purposes where the horizon is often flat out to sea this is perfect harmony & a feast for the eyes.
The Red Diamond series is my favourite of all Haida filters, the quality is second to none, not that the other Haida series aren’t, it’s just something about Red-diamond that I favour & suits my style. This particular filter I’ve tested is a Reverse graduated ND filter, made from K9 optical glass which is double the strength of normal glass, including an ultra-thin Nano multi coating for extra protection. Along with being shock/scratch resistant, waterproof, oil and fingerprint proof. This made my job at the beach with sand blowing all over the filter very easy to wipe off with a microfiber cloth.
Oftentimes with some filter brands you can get strange colour transitions whereas with this filter there was absolutely no evidence, revealing nothing but true colour & neautraly. You may think with all these features within the glass that optically the sharpness will be compromised, let me assure you and see for yourself from the raw files provided every image is pin sharp from corner to corner with excellent light transmission qualities.
Rectangle in shape 100mm x 150mm, 2mm in thickness providing more flexibility to move the filter up or down. The M10 filter holder geniusly rotates independently, in effect you could turn the filter sideways for more creativity, which I demonstrate in this video.
Also compatible with the Haida 100-Pro filter holder and other brands the same size. I use the Haida M10 filter holder whereby the Red- diamond series of filters are slotted into the front section. Not to mention the added touch of the R5 rounded corners makes it easier to slide in and out of the filter holder, no sharp corners to cut your fingers. You may have seen online the Haida Red Diamond drop test video? Where it’s thrown onto a concrete floor and no sign of damage to the filter. If you are accident prone this would be the perfect filter series for you.
I have tested this filter at different focal lengths & found the image quality second to none. Fundamentally I’m besotted, its now my secret weapon of choice & will always have a forever home in my filter case.
I hope this provides you some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions. More information & my test reviews on Haida’s website.
“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2019
I’ve known Ole Henrik a few years now, he needs no introduction to anyone in the Landscape Photography world. If you haven’t seen his work, seriously …do look him up. One of my biggest landscape photography inspirations and a genuine human being.
“Jenny’s story is a compelling read about dedication, hardships and overcoming obstacles. She is a true artist whose images stand out as unique, creative and evocative”.
Have a wee read & please let me know.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Born and raised in the north of England, moved to the Scottish Highlands in my mid 30s with husband and two dogs following our dream to escape the rat race. We live on a farm within a private highland estate in the far north – I really have never lived anywhere so beautiful in all my life. Always been a bit of a dolly daydreamer. My senior school was set in a rural location with views down a pretty valley and my step father once told a teacher that I’d never get any work done for staring out of the classroom window in my own little world. He was not wrong! I’m a very competitive person but only with myself, I am my own biggest critic, never happy with my images.
What made you start out with landscape photography?
I’ve always had a passion for the great outdoors and travel, and most of our holidays and free time were either spent long distance backpacking, hiking, climbing or skiing. Unfortunately I was diagnosed with a rare bone disease aged 35 which put an end to our adventures and I spiralled into a dark place. A few years later I found solace taking photos whilst walking my dogs in the beautiful countryside where I was lucky enough to be living, using a basic point/ shoot camera. I finally took the plunge and purchased my first Canon DSLR in October 2015.
What do you want to communicate through your photos?
I try to communicate depth by means of interesting foreground, textures, light, different focal lengths and focus. Emotion is never far from my mind when processing, which I hope is something I manage to convey in my photographs. Oftentimes, I will use more warmer palettes to portray happiness whereas more moody cool tones can show the opposite. I never set out with a plan, I kind of go with the flow wherever my mood takes me. I truly find great pleasure inviting the viewer into the scene and the world through my eyes.
What has photography done for you?
It’s helped me with mental negative demons, and in a way it’s given me back the old part of my life in the great outdoors without debilitating hip pain. Whether I’m on location or post processing, it will take me to another world. I’m not sure if others will relate to this but it’s like I’m able to escape the chaos of life and zone out in my own little world. Not to mention the genuine friendships I’ve made through photography, the generosity I’ve encountered continually astounds me.
How would you describe your work, and how has it evolved since you started out?
As much as I’m known for a lot of post processing, I do feel over the years I’ve learnt to tone it down a wee bit. In the early days I thought saturation and heavy vignettes were the best thing ever, whereas these days I try to be more selective and use it to lead the eye into key areas. Studying light has been a game changer for me, knowing where your light source is and where the light / shadows will fall is a must. I’ve learnt a lot just by spending time in nature – you soon learn what colours work best … you can’t beat nature’s own colour wheel. Also I give myself more time these day on composition, searching for patterns and leading lines, whereas I never use to give it much thought.
I suppose most of us have periods when we seem to lose the fun of photography. Have you developed any strategies to keep the fire burning?
Absolutely! There are most definitely times when this happens, I need time away mostly from my computer and usually spend extra time on family road trips. Especially to the west coast of Scotland – famous for rain but once it stops and the sun comes out there is such amazing light playing on the land that it’s hard not to feel exhilarated and then I can’t get the camera out fast enough! It’s like an itch that needs scratching and I’m back before I know it. I’m very fortunate to have such a supportive husband, he understands when these times happen but will never let me give up when I’m throwing a tantrum (usually in post processing) – he’s always there championing me on which really does help re-igniting the flame.
Have you ever been severely criticized for your work? And in that case how did you handle it?
Oh yes ….! It sure happens, especially in my early days and I didn’t handle it well emotionally and took it to heart. The purists often criticise my creative licence but I am not here to appease them, my art is selfishly for myself. I’ve learnt over the years to take it with a pinch of salt and move on as photography is subjective and you’ll never satisfy everyone – the world would be a boring place if we all liked the same thing. These days if I see a negative comment on social media I literally ignore it. Gone are the days where I try to reason with them and at the end of the day they are quite entitled to their opinion. After saying that categorically I can say that I’ve never criticise anyone else’s work, even if someone directly asks me for constructive criticism I still struggle, it’s not in my nature. My gran always taught me if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all.
Have you any hobbies besides photography?
Not sure if it’s a hobby but it sure takes up time! This past year I’ve thoroughly enjoyed spending time with seven horses on our farm whom I’ve become very attached to and seem to connect with on an emotional level, it’s really quite bizarre in a heartwarming and calming way. Also I enjoy reading and watching far too many films.
In which direction do you believe landscape photography is heading?
In all honesty reflecting on the past 20 years in the mountains of Scotland I’ve witnessed huge environmental damages. I feel social media is like a virus to landscape photography. So many people travel the globe to iconic places just to post on social media to gain more likes and/or followers, it’s really very sad what’s happening to these beauty spots. Don’t get me wrong- I accept wholeheartedly that anyone has the right to go where they wish, we’re all guilty of that up to a point. For me travel is about adventure and fun, not letting Google direct you to a location you’ve seen on Instagram. For example 20-30 years ago the famous Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye only had a few daily hill walkers, there wasn’t even a car park, not many people knew about it, people would simply park on the roadside and for the odd few cars doing this it really didn’t matter. Unlike the past 10 years where it’s snowballed to craziness on a whole new level with endless streams of tour buses all year round. It really hurts me seeing the erosion caused not only to the roads but footpaths too and literally scarring the vistas. I don’t know if people are plain selfish or just don’t realise this damage is permanent! Even if everyone stopped going from today it would take many hundreds of years to return to its former glory. I honestly don’t know where it’ll all end.
What is the most amazing place you have visited? Is it possible for you to articulate why it made such a huge impression on you?
In 1994 my husband and I rented our house out to fund a road trip for a year travelling fourteen countries in Europe and Scandinavia. There was one very special country we never wanted to leave which was Norway, it left a huge impression especially the enormity of the turquoise waterfalls and Troll Wall, such a beautiful country in so many ways. We were able to take our watches off and mostly didn’t know if it was day or night as it was summer time and never went totally dark.
What inspires you?
It’s got to be the moody Scottish weather. Some say it’s not great due to all the rain but for me there’s nothing better than after heavy rain fall when the sun pops out often revealing great light rays. Also foggy mornings make my heart swell when the mist slowly lifts from a river or loch, it really does make for interesting photography.
You have been severely ill. How has that affected you as a person and your photography?
March 2018 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, and my world came crashing down. Photography definitely inspired me to overcome my fears for the biggest fight of my life. My consultant told me I’d be out of action for a year with surgery and treatments. Luckily a few weeks after diagnosis a fine art gallery south of Glasgow approached me to display some of my work. This gave me mental balance, something positive to focus on and true hope. It took a few weeks after surgery to get back to doing some post processing, and I was only able to use one hand. Sadly I wasn’t able to hold my camera, let alone use it as I was so weak and sore. Cancer might have put my life on hold but there was no way it was controlling my love of photography. Within this time I wrote a full post processing tutorial of one of my images from start to finish for a photography magazine and also had a selection of my work published in a hardback coffee table style book.
Photography helped to shut out the reality of the outside world, and took me to another world full of magic, with a sense of calmness and happiness. It gave me the confidence to hold my head up high, I was alive! No matter what I had to face my escape was always my art, I buried my head in my own little world where anything was possible. Eventually I got through surgery, 5 months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and albeit a little battered and bruised, I survived! It’s the old cliche that you often hear after a life-changing diagnosis – “the world looks different now”. It’s so true. Before my diagnosis I would shy away from certain opportunities but now I want to grab life and live it to the fullest. I received many messages of support from fellow photographers who told me their stories of how cancer had touched their families. Photography has been my saviour and still continues to help rebuild “me”.
Do you have a piece of advice for young aspiring landscape photographers?
Be true to yourself, do what makes you happy and don’t worry what others may think. Don’t follow the crowds or chase the followers – it will become stressful and dull your creativity. Take inspiration from others but don’t copy. Try to find your own unique style which in return will give you more abundance. Never compare yourself to others, it’s a slippery slope of despair. Social media can of course be inspirational but at the same time can leave you with a feeling of lacklustre and loneliness and can quickly lead to unhelpful comparisons. If this happens take some time away even if just a couple of hours and do something completely different – for it can suck the life from your creative flow. And finally, practice, practice and more practice, it’s the only way. Oh… and don’t be too hard on yourself – it’s about having fun!
© Jenny Cameron 2019.
“The Buccal” …also known as Buachaille Etive Mor. It’s been my playground the past thirty odd years, I know these mountains very well having climbed, back-packed & skied. There will always be something very special deep in my heart that draws me back. For those who have never visited Glencoe/ Rannoch Moor area, let me tell you it’s one of those places your forever looking over your shoulder, not because it’s unsafe but your constantly thinking someone is behind you. Kinda spooky which is of no surprise when you think of the Glencoe massacre 1692 when Clan MacDonald were slaughtered in their sleep!
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. Im 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 are 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 a ND 1.8 filter meaning it will lose six stops of light. But don’t forget it has the added CPL which generally loose 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 your 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 filter on, zoomed in 100% in Lightroom to demonstrate maximum sharpness of the rocks. Its 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 color 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 is recommending to anyone whether beginners or advanced and using for my own portfolio.
I hope this provides you 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 polariser, 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 have 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 photo shoots. 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 spongued 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 a simple and easy to use 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 have 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, meaning less 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 nanopro coatings, producing excellent image quality. It’s clear to see that Haida have 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 some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions.
“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2019