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Achieving otherworldly light with a mist filter

When you photograph at night, a whole different world can lend itself to your creativity. I recently went out with a few friends of mine to test out the Kolari Vision magnetic clip-in 1/4 Mist Filter, and we ended up taking advantage of the darkness around us to create some neon-esque shots.

While mist filters aren’t one of my typical go-to filters, they do really open up some creativity when you’re experimenting. The goal of a mist filter is to help soften harsh highlights. So, paired with two RGB light panels, we were able to soften the light and spread it a bit, almost like an orb.

Using the area around you

We were already downtown, so we went over to a coffee shop door. Once Kris was seated on a step leading up to the door, we positioned the two light panels behind him, which made for some blended blue and pink lighting. We then took the same idea and applied it to Kris sitting on a picnic table at a bar across the street.

With an open aperture on my Sony 85mm f/1.8 and Sigma 35mm f/2 lenses, I was able to capture Kris reasonably well, and then bump up the exposure using Lightroom’s Select Subject masking tools.

The end result is something I like to think you’d see in a magazine, or as an album cover.

Ready for the race

Once we were done at the door, we applied the same idea to Kris’ motorcycle. After some playing around with different looks, including one where Kris was on the bike, we ended up putting a magenta light panel on the ground to light his bike. Then we used an orange light panel to add some interest by the right handlebar.

The two lights really helped to make for a different look. Without the mist filter, the lights would’ve been sharper, and you wouldn’t have seen the light give off the effect it did.

A finishing shot

Just to show what a mist filter can truly do, check out this shot of a firetruck that was passing by just as we were finishing up. The lights here are unlike anything I’ve seen, and really make for an otherworldly view.

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Rafael Jones

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