Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Another evocative image from Daryl Benson's "portrait" of Canada...

Here's another fine image from Daryl Benson's forthcoming book that we first featured on January 2. With the project now in its final production stages, Daryl has generously agreed to send along a series of preview images as well as some personal insights on the experience of self publishing. Simply titled "Canada," the 176-page book is due in stores early this summer, and is available for pre-order (US | Canada) now.

"The nation's vast and only partially explored far north is an important part of this country," says Daryl. "Both psychologically and physically, it shapes one of the ways we identify ourselves. I felt strongly that a book portraying Canada needed a good visual representation from this vast, difficult-to-access, expensive-to-travel-to and spectacularly beautiful region.

"For example, this photograph of a caribou skull and antlers reflected in a small pond was taken in late summer in the evening light, near Andrew Gordon Bay on the southern Baffin Island, Nunavut. Baffin is just one of the islands in Canada’s Arctic Archipelago, but it is by far the largest at 195,928 sq. miles -- that’s twice the size of Great Britain.

"A nice advantage to shooting at these far northern latitudes in late summer is the lingering warm sunlight. I easily had 15 to 20 minutes of magic evening light to work with as the sun slowly slid along the horizon before finally setting. I used a Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer to both enhance the warm colors and help the clouds pop out against the sky. This effect is most noticeable when shooting in a direction 90 degrees to the sun (as here). To get the nearly symmetrical reflection, I held the camera and lens less than an inch above the water's surface. Because I couldn’t use a tripod, the faster 'lighter/brighter' Singh-Ray Polarizer helped me hand hold the shot by using a quicker exposure -– 1/160 of a second at f8."

We can all look forward to further reports on this project. In the meantime, you can enjoy selections from his previous book -- Alberta -- by visiting Daryl's website.

Monday, January 14, 2008

"Lighter, Brighter" makes polarizer practical for long lenses

We've received some more photos from Ethan Meleg taken with his Canon 500mm f4 supertelephoto using his drop-in Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer, as featured here earlier. Updating the stock drop-in polarizer with Singh-Ray's "Lighter, Brighter" glass gives him about 66% more light to work with -- important when using such long lenses.

"During that same Florida trip where I made the alligator image," notes Ethan, "we lucked into this osprey which had just landed with a fish. It was mid-day and the light was harsh. I rarely shoot at that time, but I quickly salvaged this opportunity by using my drop-in LB Warming Polarizer to punch up the blue sky, add a splash of warming and help increase the color contrast on the bird. I doubt that I would have shot this subject if I had not had the drop-in LB Polarizer." (Canon EOS 1D Mark IIN with the 500mm f4 IS with 1.4x converter.)

"Another example where the filter helped make the shot is the tricolor heron reflection which was also taken with the 500mm using a 1.4x converter and the LB Warming Polarizer. It's easy to see how effectively the polarizer cut the reflected glare from the sky and improved the clarity and saturation of the heron's reflection. Without a polarizer, there's basically no shot here.

"This third shot is a snail kite taken on Lake Kissimmee using the 500mm f4 lens with a 2x teleconverter. Even though it was shot from the platform of an airboat, I was amazed at how sharp this image is, even at huge magnification! Being able to use the LB Warming Polarizer in these situations gives me the benefits of a polarizer, without worrying that I'm losing so much light that I compromise sharpness."

As always, you can find more about Ethan's work on his blog and his website.

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.