I'm visiting the mountains of La Plagne in France. I'm hoping to get some nice photographs of the snow covered mountains while I'm there. I'm thinking of getting some filters for to use with my Cokin filter kit. Any advice on what to get? I'm thinking neutral density filters, but not sure about which types or densities to get.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ .6 and or .9 ND Grad filters would be the first items if I were packing for that trip. You could also add a standard ND filter and a circular polarizer. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Mar 5, 2012 at 14:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @dpollitt answer with that, I'd upvote. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 5, 2012 at 15:03

1 Answer 1


Assuming you are shooting digitally, a polarizer should be all the filter you really need. This can reduce contrast in the scene my making the sky darker, depending on the angle of the sun. It will also reduce glare from the snow.

You may also consider a solid ND filter if you wish to do long exposures. You can do this to include climbers are night as they trace paths through the mountain with their lanterns or head-lamps. Since you get a clear view of the sky at altitude, you may also do star-trials.

Facing mountainous terrain, there is little use for a graduated ND filter since the transition on the filter is unlikely to match anything natural in the scenery. Instead, you can probably experiment with exposure fusion.

If you are shooting film, then you can add a Skylight or UV filter to reduce the blue tint caused by high-altitude UV rays. Digital sensors no not have the UV problem and compensate for tint via white-balance which you can get manually to get perfect results.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Really? I thought that snow covered mountains usually line up just fine with a Grad ND. It does depend a bit, but I thought it would still be useful. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Mar 5, 2012 at 15:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the advice. I already have a circular polariser filter, so I'm sorted there. As for ND filters, is it worth getting a range of densities or can one get by with one or two? I've seen 2x, 4x and 8x. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 5, 2012 at 15:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @dpollitt - I've never seen snow end in a straight line except when the plow just passed :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Mar 5, 2012 at 19:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @IAmAI - The mid-strength ones are more useful I find, 8X or 16X. Plus, the polarizer gives you 1 to 2 1/2 stops of darkening too, so you can combine both to increase the attenuation if needed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Mar 5, 2012 at 19:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @IAmAI - Many times you can stack polarizers and ND filters to achieve a higher value, but you may get vignetting. I would start with a 2 stop, but you could also get a variable one if you really wanted to. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Mar 5, 2012 at 19:27

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