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Join photographer, author, and teacher Ben Long on location in San Francisco as he explores the creative options provided by the kinds of lenses and lens accessories that don't always make it into most camera bags.
The course begins with a look at several common and inexpensive lens attachments, from polarizers to neutral density filters. The course then explores ultra-wide angle and fisheye lenses as well as ultra-long telephoto and macro lenses. The course concludes with a look at tilt-shift lenses, which are useful for architectural photography and special effects, and at offbeat lenses, such as Lensbaby and Holga attachments.
The course also contains Photoshop postproduction advice and examples that illustrate the creative possibilities that an expanded lens collection provides. And because some specialty lenses are extremely expensive, the course also contains advice on renting gear.
If you stack multiple filters on your lenses, there's inevitably going to come a day when you can't get your stacked filters apart. This is especially true if you have a lens that requires very large filters with threads so tiny it's hard to screw filters together so that they're perfectly straight, especially if the filters are very large. If you keep UV or Skylight filters on all of your lenses, then anytime you add a lens, you'll be stacking filters. Now, getting them apart can be tricky. First, you need to unscrew the entire stack of filters. I have two filters here. I've got an ND filter and then I put a Variable ND filter on top of it to create this stack.
When I went to unscrew the variable ND filter, the whole thing came off, and now I'm trying and trying and trying to get them undone, and I can't. Now, lots of people have lots of ideas about how to get stuck filters apart. Some people say that you should set one side on an ice pack because the cold will make that side contract and then you can unscrew them easier. Other people say that you should put the filters on a flat surface and then try to mash down on it really hard with the hope that you'll snap the threads back to where they are supposed to be and then you can unscrew them.
I've always been afraid of that last one because it sounds like all it's going to do is screw up lens threads and the cold thing has never actually worked for me. I've tried it. Instead, the only thing I've ever found that's really worked for filters that are really stuck together are these filter wrenches. So these are just cheap-o little pieces of plastic. They have kind of got some, not serrations on the inside, but a little grippy plastic bits on the inside, and the idea is I latch on to one of my filters with one of these, and I'm going to just do that right here, and then I'll latch on to the other one with the other one.
And now, if I twist in opposite directions, they should come apart, and they will eventually, but it's going to take you awhile. It's going to be really frustrating, and you've got to hold your mouth just right, or it doesn't work. It's particularly complicated if you're dealing with a circular polarizer, or in this case, a Graduated ND filter than can rotate because you'll latch on to the rotating part, and it will just spin, and that won't actually get your filters apart. The best thing I've found is to work on a table. So I set the filters down, and I put one wrench here and then the other wrench here.
And then while trying to hold them down on the table, I can usually get them to unscrew. I'm not going to make you suffer through all the grunting and foul language that will ensue if I actually try this right now. A couple of other tips though, you can sometimes get this to work a little better if you get a little thin strip of double-sided tape or something and put it on the inside of here because that will make this a little bit grippier and a little bit easier to use. It usually takes me 10 or 15 minutes to get them apart, but ultimately I can. And as I said, this is the only mechanism that I've ever found that reliably works for me.
You can find filter wrenches on Amazon and while they may take some work, they're still the best way I've found to get stuck filters unstuck.
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