It’s worth date stamping this post before you read any further. Just so we’re all agreed that it isn’t April Fool’s. This is a real thing. Cokin’s Rainbow filter. According to the manufacturer, it adds “a rainbow as real as in nature at a time and place of your choosing”. I kid you not.

When I first heard about this filter on a photo trip several years ago, I was convinced I was having my leg pulled. In fact, I had to check my leg was still attached to my body. Since then, the filter has become something of a running joke on many of my workshops. The ludicrousness of such a filter has us in stitches.

Thing is, until recently, I hadn’t actually seen one. So, after yet another round of mockery and mirth, I ordered one after this year's workshop in Ireland. Part of me still expected to be greeted by some sort of message upon checkout telling me the whole thing was the greatest jape in photographic history. Not a bit of it. The merchant took my money and actually sent me one.

Cokin Rainbow filter review

The Cokin P 195 Rainbow 1 resin filter is unbelievably bad. “As real as in nature”? Maybe in the skies over Chernobyl, but not anywhere where there hasn’t been a catastrophic nuclear disaster. I’ve sneezed more realistic rainbows.

The filter was delivered in time to take it with me on my recent workshop on the Isle of Skye with Steve Gosling. As a black-and-white photographer, Steve has no time for such nonsense. I, on the other hand, had fun introducing rainbows into the most unlikely of places. As you can see from the selection of photographs below, I have abandoned all notion that this ridiculous filter can be used to achieve a natural result. OK—I never even tried.

Cokin P 195 Rainbow 1 Filter Cokin P 195 Rainbow 1 Filter Cokin P 195 Rainbow 1 Filter

Edward Cohen, one of the Skype workshop participants, took a real shine to the filter and the work I produced with it. He also had a really great time on the trip. Edward owns a luxury bathroom goods company in the US. Not long after I returned from the trip, a package arrived containing two very high-quality bathrobes. One for me, one for my wife; with our names embroidered on them. Edward has a wicked sense of humour. He had a rainbow added over the name on mine. And quite frankly, I think it looks more realistic than the Cokin Rainbow filter.

My rainbow bath robe
My rainbow bath robe

Love photography? Want to learn how to produce images like this yourself? Check out my sister site, Elevation, where I list the photography tours and workshops that I organize.

I run trips within Ireland and abroad. Past destinations include Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard and the Faroe Islands.

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Peter Cox Photography Ltd