Friday, January 11, 2008

Another way to turn the Singh-Ray Graduated ND to your advantage

Let's imagine you're walking beside a beautiful stream in the Smoky Mountains, and suddenly you see just what you've been looking for. The sunlight through the trees spotlights the rocks and rushing water dramatically. And there on the other side, beautiful moss covered stones calmly reside in the shade under the rhododendron branches. You envision the shot... tripod up... camera positioned... 17-40mm lens choked down to 25mm... kick up the ISO a bit... exposure mode on program... and hit it.

What's this? The image on your LCD screen is not what you see. The foreground is just right but all the detail is lost in the background. Maybe you could crop out the background and just show the foreground. But that would change the whole scene and the ambiance would be gone -- just water and rocks... no moss... no rhododendron. Guess you're just out of luck...

Hey, wait a minute. Why not try your Singh-Ray Graduated ND Filter upside down? You could position it to hold back the foreground and get more balance with the shady side of the stream. Since you're already on program, you hold your 3-stop hard-edge ND Grad so the gradient half covers the brightest area at the bottom of the frame, and the scene already looks better through the viewfinder. Now just click the shutter again...

Wow. It worked. The camera's automatic metering nailed the exposure. What a nice shot... and no computer wizardry required.

"Hey, Honey. Look what I did with my upside-down ND Grad..."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Singh-Ray's drop-in Warming Polarizer is geared especially for super-long-lens shooters

Outdoor photographer Ethan Meleg loves what polarizers do for him. "I use them for almost all landscape photography with my wideangle to medium telephoto lenses. I'd have to say most of my best landscape photos have been made with Singh-Ray polarizers.

"In the past," says Ethan, "there have been many times I've craved a polarizer while shooting birds and wildlife with my 500mm and 600mm Canon super-telephoto lenses. However, the Canon drop-in polarizer especially designed for these big lenses -- which features a handy geared wheel on top that lets you easily rotate the filter -- presents a problem. The standard polarizing filter in the unit soaks up 2 precious f-stops of light and requires a much slower shutter speed. With long lenses, slow shutter speeds tend to magnify camera shake and image blurring, especially when you're shooting in low light.

"I was elated to hear recently that Singh-Ray can upgrade the Canon drop-in filters -- simply by replacing the stock polarizing filter with an LB Warming Polarizer from Singh-Ray. The LB is 2/3 of an f-stop brighter, which means that it only costs you 1-1/3 stops. That's a difference of almost a full-stop. With a super-telephoto lens, that often means the difference between an image that's a critically sharp 'keeper' and one you simply delete.

"To illustrate just how well my drop-in LB Polarizer performs, I photographed this American alligator basking in early morning light at Loxahatchee NWR during my recent visit to Florida with and without the polarizer. I was using it with my Canon EOS 1D Mark IIN and my 500/4 IS lens. When you compare the upper photo taken with the LB Polarizer and the second taken with no filter, you can see how the polarizer cut the glaring reflection off the gator and helped improve color saturation throughout the photo. To get adequate depth-of-field, I was working with a fairly slow shutter speed of 1/100s. Compared to the "standard" drop-in polarizer, the brighter LB Warming Polarizer provided almost a full f-stop more light, which helped achieve a sharp image in the relatively low light."

To keep up with Ethan's latest photographic adventures, be sure to visit his blog.

To upgrade your drop-in polarizer, you'll need to ship the drop-in polarizer that fits your lens to Singh-Ray along with payment for the LB Warming Polarizer glass plus $50 custom mounting fee ($260 + shipping). This service is also available for our Gold-N-Blue Polarizer ($240 + shipping). For more information, call Singh-Ray at 863-993-4100.

Monday, January 07, 2008

New photo magazine is growing into its second year with confidence

Since April 2007, Outdoor Photography Canada magazine has grown from an initial circulation of 5,000 to 15,000 after 4 issues. "In response to this early growth," says OPC publisher Roy Ramsey, "advertisers are showing more confidence in us. We're working to sustain a high level of editorial content for our Canadian and U.S readers, featuring top-notch photography and stories written by such veteran shooters as Darwin Wiggett, Dale Wilson, Mike Grandmaison, Kevin Spreekmeester, Paul Burwell and Ethan Meleg."

Although the magazine's target audience is primarily Canadian, Roy points out that "the many US photographers who visit Canada each year will find a lot of interesting and useful material in our quarterly publication and on our website -- which includes an on-line forum. They can learn about our various National Parks and other scenic attractions they may want to visit, and they can also discover the wide diversity of Canada's people, cultures and opportunities for outdoor adventure. We're beginning to gain more readership in the US for just that reason."

If you're interested in learning more about this exciting new magazine, visit or subscribe here.