Spectacular filters: stars and fog in your pocket

A whole generation of photographers has grown up, for whom filters are an Instagram tab, and not a “glass lens thing”. But the resurgent interest in film and creative photography makes us blow dust off spectacular filters. This article is about fogs and stars!

Hoya Star 8 Filter

Effective filters are not just out of work. In the digital age, the effect is easier to “draw” in a program. “Simpler” does not mean “better.” The creative process using optical filters is already a pleasure during shooting, especially if you work with film. And the effect itself can look much more interesting and more voluminous than its digital imitation.

Star filters

At me they are strongly associated with postcards from the 80s of the last century, this is already fashionable retro and vintage. Such filters are extremely easy to use. You put it on the lens and get spectacular stars around bright light sources. The number of rays is indicated on the box.

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For example, I used six-and eight-beam filters Hoya Star Eight and Star Six. You need to turn the sprocket – you turn the filter.

Hoya Star 8 Filter

The greatest beam length is obtained at the open diaphragm. If you cover the diaphragm, the rays are shortened and become less pronounced. But this has its own charm: the image acquires a completely different effect, character. And no processing!

Without a filter

ILCE-6600 / E 16-55mm F2.8 G Installation: ISO 50, F8, 3 s, 24.0 mm equiv.

Hoya Star 8 Filter

ILCE-6600 / E 16-55mm F2.8 G Installations: ISO 50, F2.8, 1/3 s, 24.0 mm equiv.

Hoya Star 8 Filter

ILCE-6600 / E 16-55mm F2.8 G Installation: ISO 50, F7.1, 3 s, 24.0 mm equiv.

And star filters interestingly work out on subjects with LED installations, in which thousands of light bulbs are used. This is not a dozen stars, these are thousands of rays.

Hoya Star 8 Filter

Sharp – not always good

Almost two decades of the digital era passed under the banner of the search for ringing sharpness and, it seems, we finally played enough with it. Today, when there are cameras that can draw every leaf of a tree a kilometer away from the photographer, almost no one will be surprised by the detail. We are returning to retro optics with soft prints, monocles and soft filters.

Hoya Softener A

The most commonplace application is portraits. Any soft filter will reduce contrast and add a magic haze to the frame. In landscape photography, they can also be used. I shot these frames with Hoya Softener A.

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There are more “powerful” soft filters, for example, Hoya Fog Filter B. Their effect is extremely close to real fog, which is not difficult to see in our pictures – snowless December spoiled Moscow photographers with this atmospheric phenomenon!

Without a filter

Fog filter b

Softener a

Images lose contrast, detail, characteristic flashes appear … It sounds bad only when it comes to a modern lens. In fact, the fog filter is a powerful creative tool that can change the weather, and not just the mood in the frame. It is noteworthy that the effect is individual for each plot, and this is also a feature of optical filters.

More interesting together

When you work with spectacular filters, you can combine and enhance effects. For example, star and soft filters are able to tear the image as much as possible from reality. There is no limit to creativity. Once you move away from “always abruptly”, and the photo changes completely, turning into a fascinating experiment.

About modern technology

In this article we talked about how to get artificial, albeit spectacular stars in the frame. Just a couple of months ago, a filter was created in the Hoya lineup, created specifically for photographers who shoot real stars. This is Starskape. Such a filter suppresses two parts of the spectrum corresponding to the luminescence of sodium and mercury lamps.

Spectral characteristic of Hoya Starscape

Without a filter

Hoya starscape

It is these lamps that are most often used for street lighting, and therefore are the main cause of light pollution – no stars are visible against the background of their light.

Unfortunately, I was not able to see the stars in Moscow in December behind clouds and fogs. But it turned out to test the filter. With it, I shot the cityscape, removing the overly aggressive orange hue of sodium lamps and achieving a cleaner color in the frame. Look at the two shots. They very clearly illustrate the operation of this filter.

To have or not to have?

A spectacular filter is not a must, and it’s not as cheap as the free Instagram effect. But you understand their value only when you stop measuring the photo in rubles and megapixels. With them everything is the same as with film color rendition. You can use film emulation for ten years in the program, or you can just shoot the video once with the 120th film and feel a different mood. You can put an optical filter on the lens once and get another photo.


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