In Focus It's in the Bag Focal Points Riding Shotgun My Peter Lik Story


By Adrian Zupp

A photographer and his filters are pretty much inseparable. That’s because filters serve so many purposes, all of which yield better photographs. On every shoot, Peter takes a variety of filters — and when he went to Montana to shoot the episode “Winter Extremes,” his filters were put to good use again.

“In Montana there were glaciers and lakes, ice and snow,” said Peter. “In other words, lots of glare and reflections. So a polarizing filter is absolutely essential. I wouldn’t even think of trying to shoot landscapes in those conditions without one.”

Also on Peter’s must-have list is his UV filter. These absorb UV rays and give sharper images with less haze.

“If there’s any haze, the UV helps a lot,” added Peter. “And it prevents photos from having a blue-ish look that can happen if too much UV light gets to the film or digital sensor.”

Peter uses B+W, Cokin and Schneider filters, among others, with an emphasis on high quality glass and multi-coating. These last longer and deliver a better image. As with anything, you get what you pay for. Uncoated or monocoated filters are not recommended unless that’s all you can afford. These can increase flare, reduce contrast and lower image resolution.

If you want to find out about the full range of filters – there’s a ton of them! – go online and do a little research. If you’re a new photographer, you probably don’t want to complicate things too much. Maybe just a polarizing and UV filter to start.

One other thing: Filters will protect your lenses, and that can save you a lot of money. For a landscape photographer, that’s a big deal. A scratched lens is not something you want to contend with when you’re on a glacier in Montana.

So do your filter homework and don’t get left out in the cold.

Posted on April 13, 2011 at 4:00 am



  1. Alright, I’m dying to know how Peter gets those gorgeous colors in his photos. I just got a basic DSLR and I need all the tips I can get. I haven’t bought any extra lenses for it yet, only the kit lens that it came with. I’m wanting mostly to do landscape shots. Watching From the Edge With Peter Lik has inspired me. But you can have all the best most expensive gear, yet take horrible pictures if you don’t know how to use it. Any advice?

    Comment by Kyle on May 15, 2011 at 7:09 pm

  2. There are a few things. Firstly, lenses are critical. Buy the best that your budget allows. Second, if you experiment with natural light — especially just before dawn and just after sunset — you’ll have more luck with colors. And thirdly, practice and experiment in general: that’s the “trick” that any successful photographer will pass on to you. Like the man said: “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

    Comment by Staff Writer on May 17, 2011 at 4:55 pm

  3. Does peter have any favorite types of filters that he uses? Colored filters, graduated ND filters, etc?

    Comment by Cody on June 28, 2011 at 10:38 am

  4. When Peter uses filters, he only uses polarizing filters. They decrease the amount of light that is let into the camera’s sensor and protect his lenses.

    Comment by Staff Writer on August 16, 2011 at 3:01 pm

  5. What type of Canon camera does Peter like best for taking Landscape photos?

    Comment by Bobby Aycock on August 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm

  6. Peter uses many cameras but three he favors are: Linhof Technorama 617s III; Phase One P65+; Canon 5D Mark II

    Comment by Staff Writer on August 22, 2011 at 6:01 pm

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