Friday, July 18, 2008

LB Warming Polarizer is the natural choice for "capturing" a Barred Owl family

Outdoor photographer Jamie Fullerton is still young, but he's learning fast. Especially when it comes to using his Singh-Ray filters.

"I'm fortunate to live next to the Kathryn C. Lewis Natural Area in Redmond, Washington, which is a protected forest and wetland area. Each year, a Barred Owl pair uses the nearby forest as a nesting site. One of my goals this spring was to photograph this year's owl family in their natural habitat. I wasn't interested in producing typical 'portrait shots' of these birds, isolated on immaculate perches, shot from a comfortable distance with a 500mm lens. I wanted to create intimate photos of the family within their dense, chaotic, and often dimly lit natural surroundings.

"To create these images, I used a Canon 40D camera and Canon 70-200 f/4L IS lens. Shooting was done from ISO 400 to ISO 800 so my shutter speeds rarely rose above 1/100 second, yet my images remained very sharp with good hand-holding technique. Canon's image stabilization technology works wonders, and I found myself using a monopod sparingly. My working distance from the birds was always under 20 feet and often under 10 feet, always depending on the attitude of the birds.

"These owls, however, are difficult to expose properly. Sometimes, their feathers reflected a bit of glare -- not to mention all the surrounding foliage. It was suggested that I try using one of my Singh-Ray Polarizers to control the problem. My initial reaction was, 'What? A polarizer in the woods? I'm already shooting at 1/80 second... there's no way.' Then again, it could work. I'll try it.

"To my surprise, I immediately saw the difference. My images of the owls taken with the LB Warming Polarizer were clearly more saturated and defined, while the warming effect of the polarizer helped counteract the cool light temperature of the shaded forest. The best thing about the LB Warming Polarizer is that it consumes only 1-1/3 stops of light. I found myself shooting at around 1/60 second in the darkest areas of the forest. With image stabilization, this was a breeze.

"Getting more things right in-camera pleases me greatly. Using the LB Warming Polarizer for these deep-woods exposures allowed me to spend less time fiddling with camera settings and post-processing and more time studying my subjects. In the end, it helped achieve my goal of creating wonderfully intimate images of this year's Barred Owl family."

You'll find just how quickly Jamie is learning by visiting his journal on a regular basis.

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