This is just a quick tip to keep you out of trouble. On the front of the lens on almost all D-SLR cameras is a group of threads used to screw on filters. The most basic filter is a UV Filter that will do a really good job of protecting the glass on the front of your lens with little noticeable difference in your images. These filters also have threads to screw additional filters onto. This is known as “stacking” filters. You can add “Neutral Density” Filters to cut the amount of light coming into the lens, “Circular Polarizers”, or almost any other combination of filters to allow you to get your desired result when taking your picture.
These filters are very, very slim and can be difficult to separate once screwed on tightly.
This problem can be compounded by the fact that very little air gets in between these filters when added together, so you can have a vacuum seal form between these filters making them virtually impossible to separate without tools.
Add to this, if you take your camera, and/or camera bag from your nice, cool, air-conditioned vehicle or hotel room into the hot summer afternoon temperatures and the air between the filters will expand creating pressure between the filters causing them to become even “tighter”.
Do not screw these filters on as tight as you can with your fingers, but give a little “breathing room”, so you don’t have to work nearly as hard to get them to separate when it comes time to take them apart again.
On-location quick fix #1: Hand the lens to a number of other people in the area and explain the situation to them clearly, to see if they too, are having difficulty separating the filters. This method is not preferred since the others will generally get fingerprints and all sorts of other debris on your sensitive, expensive lens filter. (This method usually doesn’t work, but it does give everyone in the immediate area a good laugh and allow them to join in the “fun”).
On-location quick fix #2: Place the filters near an air-conditioning vent, to cool down the filters and lower the air pressure in between the filters. Then attempt once again to manually separate the stubborn filters.
WARNING: The following quick fix will not be good for your equipment, and does require the use of sharp metal objects, so…, since you were the one to get yourself in this jam in the first place, you probably aren’t qualified to perform it. Use with caution and all responsibility is entirely your own.
On-location quick-fix #3: Take a thin blade, like the one on a pocket knife, and insert it in the space between the two filters. Give it a gentle nudge to possibly allow the vacuum seal formed between the two filters to break, (the vacuum seal, not the filters), put away the sharp object and then attempt once again to manually unscrew the filters.
On location quick-fix #4: Completely remove the stacked filters and place them in your camera bag in the misguided hope that the camera fairies will somehow have pity on you and loosen the filters for you over the next few weeks.
Warning: Removing all of the filters will expose the face of your lens to significant risk of expensive damage. Fix this situation as soon as possible.
All of the previous solutions may be attempted with your own degree of muttering, under-your-breath profanities, and other concealed methods of frustration. Feel free to flavor to personal distaste.
To really compound and confirm the gooberness element to this particular problem, if, after you separate the two filters, you want to see how it happened in the first place, screw them together again…