Quick note: Gobe have since re-branded and are now "Urth"
A photography kit company with the environment at its heart? Yes Please!
My recent search for a variable ND (neutral-density) filter brought me to Gobe's products, and I liked what they were doing so much that I wanted to share it with you. According to the company's website, Gobe was founded by two photographers who, on their travels, were struck by both the beauty of nature and the devastation of the environmental crisis. They wanted to create products that would not only help photographers to capture the splendour of nature, but also to protect it.
Gobe's products are packaged and delivered in minimal, recyclable packaging (which also happens to be beautifully presented). Each purchase also comes with a code which, when activated online, tells the company to plant 5 trees in areas severely affected by deforestation - currently including Madagascar, Nepal, Haiti and Indonesia.
When my filter arrived, the packaging was true to its claim - the majority was cardboard or paper and certainly recyclable. The tin that the filter was in was metal (again, recyclable), although I wasn't sure whether the little bag that protected the filter or the sponge underneath it was biodegradable, and I couldn't find any information about that on either the packaging or the website. But I think it's fair to say that, on the whole, the packaging was far more responsible than that of most technology-based companies.
The filter itself has a strong, simple design, and fits onto my lens very easily. It rotates smoothly to adjust the settings for different levels of light, without compromising the sharpness of the image. The only thing to be careful of is that, if rotated past the maximum point marked on the filter's rim, a dark X appears across the image - but the filter isn't intended to be rotated that far, so if used correctly you should have no issues!
I've been really happy with my variable ND filter so far! Keep scrolling to see some of the footage I've taken with it.
Why use a variable ND filter?
An ND, or "Neutral Density", filter is used to reduce the amount of light entering a camera lens - particularly in very bright or high contrast settings. This can be useful for a number of reasons, for instance it can allow the aperture to be kept much lower, to create a wide depth of field or motion blur. It can also be useful in videography in situations with particularly bright light, to stop areas from becoming over exposed - this is mostly how I will be using the filter, and the reason I chose to use it in the sunset footage above!