Friday, January 25, 2008

They're using their Singh-Ray filters for "a lot more than landscapes"

It would be hard to find two photographers with a more diverse range of experience and talent than Joe DiMaggio and JoAnne Kalish. Married and business partners, both are long-time professionals known for their high-impact still-life, sports/action, and commercial images as well as enchanting landscapes. Recently, they launched the DiMaggio/Kalish Learning Center -- where they can blend their individual styles to help students acquire a wider range of up-to-date imaging techniques and know-how.

"Our students discover early-on how optical filters work to not only solve problems but open up fresh opportunities," says JoAnne. "They learn that filters are not only for landscapes -- particularly the Singh-Ray Gold-N-Blue Polarizer, LB ColorCombo and Vari-ND. At the Learning Center, students represent every level of experience and they use almost any camera. The one thing they all share is a strong desire for a hands-on learning experience -- and that includes exploring the use of filters."

These three photographs support JoAnne's point. "For Joe's shot of me in Piazza San Marco in Venice (at top), he used a Singh-Ray Gold-N-Blue Polarizer along with the LB Color Intensifier," says JoAnne. "My boat images (at left) were both made in the wonderful little town of Villefranche, France, using the Gold-N-Blue Polarizer. The sun was at a 45-degreee angle and the reflections in the water caught my eye. I took quite a few images in both gold and blue until I got it just right. In all our workshops, we stress keeping the shooting process simple and responsive -- just about the only 'extras' used are our Singh-Ray filters."

You can find more information about the Learning Center, workshops and their new instructional DVD on-line by visiting

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Catching "The Wave"

From his home base in Arizona, outdoor photographer Steve Kossack has been a frequent visitor to The Wave located in Utah's Paria Canyon. "Each and every expedition has been different in some way," says Steve, "but this year's experience during our Landmarks of the Southwest Workshop was like none before.

"We had snow! We also had rain, wind, hail, sunshine and clouds. Temperatures ranged from the 20s to 50s -- and sometimes there was not much time or distance between the two! It was the perfect time to be photographing in this exciting area of Arizona and Utah.

"This workshop was also the maiden voyage for my new Canon 1Ds MKIII, and I was eager to test its awesome capabilities. In the image above I faced a situation I'd never experienced before. As these images demonstrate, few scenes in nature translate as dramatically as red rock and fresh snow. However, it can be a very difficult exposure to do properly. Diffused light was key here. The magnificent detail held in the snow was more and more difficult to hold when direct light was present. This image is a 'stitch,' comprised of four vertical shots taken quickly in the same light to convey the density and volume of the snow. I felt I needed to have a strong foreground to enhance the feeling of deep snow without losing the stark color of the sandstone. The wind erosion in the snow seemed to make the wave roll!

"This next image is a single exposure taken shortly after to help me get a feel for the resolving power of my new 'super camera.' The fact that most of the sandstone on the south slope (left) was snow covered made the scene seem more sedate. I did this one frame from the same tripod location at 24 mm with my Singh-Ray LB ColorCombo. I believe this image more faithfully captured the scale and scope of our perceived experience. Detail was easier to display and exposure was now acceptable in the more direct light. Since the detail in the snow shadow was no longer a major part of the composition, I simply let the shadow fall where it may. Both images are a well deserved reward for the effort involved on this beautiful day. A day I know all our workshop participants will long remember!"

Steve will soon release Great Smoky, another in his series of instructional DVDs that will include a discussion on the use of Singh-Ray Filters. It will be available soon at Steve's website.

Monday, January 21, 2008

By shooting for three summers while most of Iceland slept... he has his book!

For the past three summers, Pete Chipman has photographed all across Iceland with his Canon 1DS Mark II between mid-June and early July -- taking advantage of the 24 hours of daylight each day. Photographing almost exclusively between 11:00 PM and 8:00 AM, he circled the entire island-nation shooting along the coast and in the highlands while most of the residents slept peacefully (or partied in Reykyavik). Some 20,000 plus images later, Pete is now in the process of obtaining a publisher for a large-format photo book featuring his images and experiences.

"Here are several of images from the book," says Pete. "The first two were taken in Iceland's Hornstrandir Nature Preserve which is a remote and uninhabited land in the northwest of Iceland, accessible only by boat. The area was inhabited until the 1940s when the residents decided to move out due to its lack of roads and electricity. Hornstrandir was designated a nature preserve in the 1970s. These shots were both taken using the Singh-Ray Daryl Benson Reverse 3-stop and Galen Rowell Soft-Step 4-stop Graduated ND filters together with an LB Warming Polarizer. I find that the two filters together do a nice job of evening out the sky and softening hard lines at the same time.

"The waterfall scene was captured at about 1:00AM, near an abandoned settlement named Latravík using a Canon 135mm f2.0 Canon lens at f14. I was half expecting an elf to jump across the trail when I was walking through these parts!

"This second image was taken from below the Hornbjarg seabird cliffs looking out towards the Haelavíkurbjarg seabird cliffs at about 5:00AM using my trusty old Sigma 24mm f2.8 lens at f20 (microchip upgraded for aperture function back in 2000 when they would still do it for EOS cameras). I had been photographing since 10:00PM the previous day and was utterly exhausted trudging back to my campsite for blissful sleep. When I saw this scene, however, I knew I had to take the shot. I was literally falling asleep while I set up my gear. Same filters as the waterfall shot above.

"I often use a Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer set as a “base-layer” for many of my shots. This picture of Reístur Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey was taken a little after midnight using my LB Warming Polarizer to pull out the red and orange highlights on the structure, and help bring out the warm light from the setting sun still falling on the wall of the building.

"I find the Daryl Benson Reverse ND Grad filters are invaluable when trying to capture 'big sky' scenes such as this cloud image that stretch from the horizon. This picture was taken with a 35mm f2.0 Canon lens at Jökulsárlón Lake looking out to a mountain ridge to the northeast. My 3-stop and 2-stop Reverse ND Grads were combined with an LB Warming Polarizer to help balance the sky -- which through the viewfinder appeared very bright at the bottom and dark blue toward the top. The polarizer helped bring out detail in the slightly lenticular clouds.

"I've read various discussions on whether it’s better to use multiple exposures for images with a high dynamic range (HDR) and then combine them with software, or use Graduated Neutral Density filters. I’ll often shoot the same scene using both methods and then pick which looks best. While I find myself using ND Grad filters more often, this shipwreck image represents a scene that called for multiple exposures. I still thought the image could use some help from a filter, in this case the LB Warming Polarizer. I found this hulk while on my way to the Latrabjarg seabird cliffs in the west of Iceland. Using a Sigma 24mm f2.8, I made about five exposures to get around the situation of having a central object surrounded by lighter exposure. The LB Warming Polarizer, though, is what really made the ship 'pop.'"

You can view more of Pete’s images and learn more about his Iceland book project at his website.