Photographing a Desert Superbloom With the New Kase KW Magnetic Filters

Photographing a Desert Superbloom With the New Kase KW Magnetic Filters

Okay, so when were you all going to tell me how awesome magnetic lens filters are? Have you tried them yet? These are a game-changer for my kit. Seriously, check out these photos, and let me share my experience with the brand new Kase magnetic filters.

I was recently approached by our team to try out the new Kase KW Revolution magnetic filters. If you know my style of landscape photography, I love to use lens filters as my secret weapon to make my photos pop. Circular polarizer and neutral density filters are integral to my kit, and I’ve written a few times about that here on Fstoppers. So, with the brand new Kase KW Revolution Professional ND Kit in my bag, I went on an epic camping road-trip to photograph the rare wildflower superbloom across Arizona, California and Nevada. I put the kit to the test on a rainbow of subjects in all kinds of light to see how they would compare to my classic style filters.

Design and Features

What intrigued me off the bat about the filters is first the new magnetic application style. I have been using both regular screw on circular polarizer and the slide in rectangle filters since the black and white film days. Both types are cumbersome and have their limitations. The screw on filters can be fussy to thread on, often get stuck together and with some you can’t use your lens cap, so you have to remove and apply the filter every time you want to store your camera. The square and rectangle filters are a whole setup, with the giant filters and the holder system taking up space, adding weight, and dangling off your gear. They take time to set up and store, time that might mean you miss photographing a crucial moment. All of these filter types get such great optical results tried and true, but the form factor is challenging, especially if, like me, you often hike or travel with your gear.

Enter into the scene these magnetic filters. They are so easy to use and swap! The key is a little magnetic ring that screws onto your lens. You just apply the ring and then you can pop on and off up to four of the magnetic filters. Plus, the kit includes a magnetic lens cap so you can safely store your gear with whatever filters you like, ready to go. I leave my circular polarizer on almost all the time. This easy magnetic lens cap just snaps right on, or you can pop on your regular lens cap, either works. The kit also includes a low profile inlaid magnetic ring which makes the magnetic filters appear to magically just snap onto the lens itself. Both work great and it is nice that they included both types of adaptor so you can pick which you prefer. Or do what I did: use them on different lenses so you can swap lenses as easily as you can swap these new magnetic filters. Just snap on your filter and go.

The magnets for the filters and lens cap are a good strength, not too strong that you can’t get the filter or cap back off when you want to, but not so weak that they randomly fall off either. I even carried my camera out while hiking between locations and the filters didn’t fall off. Nor did they fall off in my bag. The filters are also shock-resistant and waterproof and stood up to my testing out in rain, snow, and even hot desert sands.

Another physical part about this kit is so simple but so welcome an update to filter kits: color coding. How clever of Kase to color-code each filter! No more looking at the fine print to figure out which filter you are using. They all have a bold color ring easy to see. I also found this helpful if I stored my camera with multiple filters stacked. I can easily just look at the colors and see which filters are on and swap them in or out as needed for the next photoshoot.

I can see these filters being great for everyone, but especially useful if you have physical limitations. The ease of snapping on and off the filters, the bright color coding, light weight of the entire kit, and the ability to stack them and swap an entire stack off are so helpful. These types of products help bring some inclusivity to a tricky but so useful part of a photographer’s kit.

In the Field

Aside from the upgraded form factor of the magnetic system, the optics are the next aspect to explore in a lens filter. I can safely say that I didn’t experience any weird color casts, vignetting, or other optical issues. The filters just worked like a charm, each one providing the effect it was meant to.

In testing the Kase KW Revolution Professional ND Kit, I used the circular polarizing filter the most, as that is my tried and true choice. If you are new to filters, this is the one you want if you only get one filter. A circular polarizer or CP filter creates an effect that you cannot reproduce in post-processing, as I wrote in a prior article, “The Secret to Genuine, Epic Skies in Your Photographs without Sky Replacement”:

A CP filter cuts glare, which sounds mundane, but the effect is unmatchable. The glare that you don’t even realize that you are seeing is on everything from water to foliage, buildings, glass, and yes, even the sky. The effect of a CP filter dramatically boosts the contrast and colors in your photos. Clouds will pop more, water will be clearer, plants will look lush, and the sky colors will be saturated with vibrancy. It is my favorite filter for nature photography.

With the Kase CP filter not having vignettes or uneven color casts, I was able to create huge panoramic photographs. Each of the pano pieces matched up perfectly for a seamless image. This allowed me to create photographs that captured the epic vast swath of the superbloom across the desert. One moment that stands out to me was at dusk, the flowers lit by the full moon, and I was surrounded in every direction as far as the eyes could see with colorful blooms. With the CP filter on, I created a giant panoramic stitch to document that rare and beautiful moment. I can still remember the scent of the flowers. I am so happy with how my photos came out and how easy the Kase magnetic kit was to help me create what I had envisioned.

The Kase KW Revolution Professional ND Kit also includes an awesome circular polarizer as well as a trifecta of neutral density filters: ND8 3 Stop Filter, ND64 6 Stop Filter and a ND1000 10 Stop. The ND filter types help you purposefully lose light to your lens and are often used in video or tricky lighting situations. As a nature photographer, I used them to reduce the light so that I could take longer exposure photographs. I usually use this effect when photographing waterfalls or waves; it makes the water look smooth and silky. However, on this trip, I played with long exposure landscapes and clouds to create a painterly effect in the sky. ND filters are a fun way to add creativity to your images with long exposures and artful blurs. It is just another way to push beyond a simple snapshot and add something unique to your portfolio. Even in popular tourist destinations, artful filter use can help make your photos stand apart from the rest.

The kit also states that it is fully backwards compatible with their Kase Wolverine Magnetic Filters. This means you can mix and match with their various magnetic filters types to create a custom kit that works for you.

Final Thoughts

I can’t recommend these magnetic filters enough. They are just so simple and quick to use. They even come with a magnetic filter pouch with a clip if you want to attach it to your bag or belt for quick filter changes. I really appreciate updates like this for our gear, anything to streamline the process and let us focus, pun intended, on creating photographs, not fussing with gear.

If you would like to add the Kase KW Revolution Professional ND Kit to your bag, you can find it here at B&H.

kate g's picture

Kate is an award winning travel and nature photographer, educator and writer. She was classically trained on black and white photography in the dark room while she earned her BFA in Fine Art and Design. When she is not working on assignment, Kate teaches photography workshops to share her love and knowledge of wild life and wild places.

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Great article. Thank you for sharing your great gear Discovery and your awesome photos. Please keep posting great articles like this. You are the type of content contributor that we need more of.

Thank you so much Chili! I will be sure to share more reviews like this. It is always fun finding and sharing gear that can help make our photographs and experience better. Thank you for taking the time to write in and for your kind compliments.

That is a superb read and an interesting looking product. Screw-on filters are a pain for me when it comes to unscrewing them on an ice-cold beach, so these sound a superb alternative.