Here is a shot of some Cokin Filters.
These are filter that you slide into an adapter on the front of your lens. They come in a variety of sizes and densities. You can get filters that distort the image or change colors. The filters shown here are neutral density and warming filters. The neutral density filters allow you to tame the light and give a longer shutter speed. This would be beneficial if you were shooting a water scene and the light is too bright to keep a shallow depth of field. There are many other uses, but that is the best simple explanation I can give.
The use of a split neutral density filter would be best used if your sky meeting the landscape scene was 1-3 stops too bright, and you want to compensate for the bright sky and keep your landscape properly exposed. These filters come in both hard edge and graduated blending to work with different types of photography. You can stack these filters as well to obtain an even greater dynamic range.
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