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Galen Rowell Graduated Neutral Density Filters

Many of the most dramatic landscape scenes we try to capture have a spread of highlights and shadows – bright skies and dark foregrounds – that exceeds the dynamic range of our camera.

The result is often an image that’s overexposed in the highlight areas or underexposed in the shadows – in other words, nothing close to the beautiful scene we were seeing. Some photographers take multiple exposures and try to recreate the scene with HDR software, but more often than not, the final image jumps out as “processed” and rarely looks realistic.

Why not try the simple tools used by top pros all over the world to achieve what we call “true high dynamic range ”? Produce exciting, realistic images that contain the full contrast of the scene, in a single exposure, right in the camera.

Singh-­Ray pioneered these filters with legendary landscape photographer Galen Rowell. While they have since been copied by virtually every filter manufacturer, our Rowell grads remain the industry standard for optical quality and color fidelity.


  • Use our soft-edge grads when the horizon line between sky and land is indistinct or when the line between shadow and light is indistinct.
  • Use our hard-edge grads when the horizon line is well defined or when the line between light and shadow is distinct.
  • If you’re new to ND grads, a good starting set would be the 3-stop soft-edge grad for water reflections and the 2- and 3-stop hard-edge grads for defined horizons and lines of shadow and light.
  • Meter the foreground and set exposure in manual mode before moving the filter into position. Use your camera’s depth-of-field preview to see the exact position of the density shift and adjust the filter position accordingly.
  • These filters can be stacked together up to a maximum of four (4) stops of density, without sacrificing color fidelity. Many photographers also use them together with our LB warming polarizer and Benson reverse ND grads.
  • They are available in a variety of sizes, including those for P and X-Pro filter holders.
  • Handholding these filters has become increasingly popular because it’s faster, there’s less gear to carry and it reduces the chance of vignetting (it’s usually the filter holder that results in vignetting).
  • If handholding, consider a larger filter size, such as 4×6, which is easier to handle and reduces the possibility of including a fingertip or filter edge in your image.
  • These filters are not just for landscapes, but can also be used inside to balance bright windows and darker interiors.
  • Practice!


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