Thursday, April 03, 2008

Outdoor Photography Canada continues to reach more readers

We just received our latest issue of Outdoor Photography Canada, and we continue to be impressed. What began five quarterly issues ago as a new Canadian outdoor photo magazine is starting to become an international publication, reaching more and more photographers around the world. Publisher and founder Roy Ramsay says “our Spring/Summer 2008 issue is out now. The clear 'how-to' approach we take to explain and illustrate the best imaging techniques has really caught the eye of outdoor photographers of every level. We have a team of strong and seasoned photographers providing readers with practical suggestions and inspiring photos."

Contributing writers and photographers include Darwin Wiggett, Kevin Spreekmeester, Ethan Meleg, Dale Wilson, Mike Grandmaison, Paul Burwell and Kelly Funk. Fortunately, Outdoor Photography Canada has found its way onto many magazine racks south of the border. "Several U.S. bookstore chains, including Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Books-a-Million have picked up the title and report very healthy sales," says Roy.

You can learn more and review stories from previous issues by visiting outdoorphotographycanada.com

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Photographer gets true-blue images with his LB Color Intensifier on Patagonia trip

Regular visitors to this blog realize a lot of fine outdoor photographers have recently journeyed to Patagonia. This rugged land in southern Chile and Argentina features the Andes Mountain range on the west, a vast plateau on the east and 450,000 acres of Torres del Paine National Park in the southernmost and coolest part of Chile. Our latest account is from Rod Barbee, a professional photographer and writer based in Port Ludlow on Washington's Olympic Peninsula.

"When photographing the Perito Moreno Glacier, I was immediately struck by the intense blues found in the floating icebergs. I’d never seen blue like this before. When I compared what I saw through the viewfinder to what I was seeing with my naked eye, I was a little disappointed. The blues just didn’t seem as intense. I know that this can be an artifact of the lens, the mirror, or the viewfinder itself. The blues also appeared very weak on my camera’s LCD screen -- even though I don't try to accurately judge the colors in any image by viewing it on the LCD screen. To combat this dilemma, or at least to make myself feel better at the time, I added a Singh-Ray LB Color Intensifier on my lens. Now that's better... now the viewfinder image looked like what I was seeing with my eye. And the resulting images are truer to that amazing blue as I remember it.

"Shown here is a "with-and-without" pair of glacier ice pictures for closer comparison. Both images are jpg files of the original raw image without any processing other than to resize, remove any dust spots, and apply output sharpening. To me the one with the LB Color Intensifier represents what I was actually seeing at the time. There’s just nothing to compare to that blue ice and you can see how the LB Color Intensifier brought that special blue home.

"One thing every photographer who's been to Patagonia will agree on is that it’s a bit breezy, to say the least. To prevent camera shake in such windy conditions, the need for faster shutter speeds becomes a priority. At the same time, however, polarizers are often needed to cut reflections and glare. Whereas most other polarizers absorb up to two f-stops of light, my LB (lighter, brighter) Warming Polarizer transmits 2/3 of an f-stop more light than a regular polarizer, which means a faster shutter speed and less likelihood of camera shake under such windy conditions.

"Speaking of shutter speed, I’m appreciating more and more the versatility that the Vari-ND filter provides. While photographing this iceberg, I wanted to eliminate the choppiness in the water, which I found to be distracting and a jarring contrast to the smoothness of the ice. By using my Vari-ND filter, I was able to dial in a longer shutter speed. At that point it was just a matter of waiting for the wind to die down to manageable levels so I’d avoid camera shake. Here again, you can see a with-and-without comparison.

"And of course, as with just about any outdoor landscape location, light levels in Patagonia can be well beyond the ability for film or sensor to record. I go back and forth between blending two or more exposures versus using my Graduated Neutral Density filters to increase the dynamic range in my images. Basically it comes down to what’s the most efficient way to make the best quality image. With scenes that contain a relatively even horizon line -- such as the Torres del Paine landscape we see here -- then my ND Grad filter is the easiest and most efficient way for me to create the best quality image. If the scene has an uneven or jagged horizon where the use of an ND Grad will be obvious, then making two or more exposures and blending them is, for me, the best way to go. I’m all about efficiency (though my wife might disagree on this when it comes to a certain honey-do list), and that is why I still rely on a full set of Singh-Ray Graduated ND filters."

As summer approaches, we're expecting further word from Rod, but you can also see his work -- including a nice selection of images from the recent Patagonia trip -- by visiting his website.