Friday, July 25, 2008

Drop-in LB Warming Polarizer helps long-lens photographer cut background glare

Canadian photographer, writer, and naturalist Paul Burwell has been using his new drop-in LB Warming Polarizer with his 500mm Canon f4 IS telephoto lens with great success this summer. He sends this latest "with-and-without" example to show how effectively the distracting background reflection was reduced.

"I was out at my favourite marsh the other day," Paul says, "when I came across a couple of Cedar Waxwings flitting around. One of them sat still long enough for me to produce these two images. The image on the left was produced using the Singh-Ray drop-in LB Warming Polarizer. The image on the right was shot just 14 seconds before without the polarizer. Even my quick comparison of the two images on my camera's LCD showed the benefits of the polarizer; which include slightly warmer color, less reflection off the bird's beak, and -- most obviously -- really helping with the reflections off the water which was confusing the background. All of which added up to a much more pleasing image.

"The thing I love about the Singh-Ray modified drop-in LB Polarizer is the extra 2/3 of a stop of light it provides over the standard Canon drop-in polarizer. That 2/3 of a stop may not seem like a lot, but since I'm often using my Canon 500mm F4L IS lens with a 2.0x lens converter on it, I'm usually needing to shoot at F9 to make sharp images. The Singh-Ray modified drop-in polarizer allows me to keep shooting at ISO 400 while still having enough shutter speed to make sharp images when combined with good long-lens techniques. That just isn't possible without that extra light the Singh-Ray polarizer lets through to my camera's sensor.

"Most importantly for me, it's all done in the camera with no added effort required, and I can continue to reap such benefits on many more of my telephoto images for years to come. Pleasant thoughts."

You can continue to track Paul's pleasant images and thoughts by visiting 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.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Colorado proves to be a great test site for LB Warming Polarizer and 4x6 ND Grads

Joe Rossbach has just returned from a very successful two-week photo trip to Colorado. "Just prior to this trip," says Joe, "I got my hands on a new set of filters from Singh-Ray which included the LB Warming Polarizer and the larger 4x6-inch ND grads. WOW! I am in love. Not having to fuss with the Cokin P holder any longer allows me to work more quickly and give greater attention to making new and exciting images. What I like most about these new filters is that I can use my widest-angle lenses without the worry of vignetting. I should also add that they are perfect for 'dodging' areas in the scene during exposure. This ensures that I don't get any noticeable grad lines in the images. These images were all made with the the LB Warming Polarizer and 4x6-inch ND grads during a recent private workshop that I led while in Colorado.

"The image of the kid Mountain Goat (above) was made just below the summit of Mount Evans at 13,900 feet. I fitted the LB Warming Polarizer on my Nikkor 80-200mm 2.8 lens and rotated the ring as the sky became a darker and richer blue. The darkening of the sky in conjunction with a low camera angle helped the naturally camouflaged kid stand out clearly in the composition. The lighter, brighter density of the LB Warming Polarizer -- unlike so many others of its kind -- allowed me to use a faster shutter speed to freeze the action in this image.

"To capture this image of a bull Elk on the shore of Dream Lake at first light, it was a really imperative to be able to work as fast as possible. I was already set up for a shot about 10 yards away, when I noticed the Elk emerge from the forest and begin making his way to the edge of the lake. I quickly moved my camera and tripod over to a large rock where I composed this image. Using a 12-24mm wideangle lens with my LB Warming Polarizer already attached, it was just a matter of metering the highlights and shadows and choosing the appropriate Graduated ND filter to balance the light -- a 3-stop filter that kept the sky 1 stop brighter than the reflection -- dodging with the filter in a smooth up-and-down motion to keep the hillside on the left from becoming too dark.

"When I was photographing this image from Rollins Pass in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, the conditions were very tough and it was actually quite cold. The use of the LB Warming Polarizer once again provided just a little bit faster shutter speed in order to record a sharp image in spite of the winds that were gusting up to 40 to 50 miles an hour. I also used the 3-stop ND grad to balance the light in the sky and distant peaks with the much darker forest below.

"This shot of Hallet Peak reflected in Bear Lake was made by sandwiching two ND grads together -- in opposite directions -- and exposing for the deeply shaded middle ground. I hand held a 2-stop ND grad over the sky and brightly lit mountains and a 3-stop ND grad over the reflection in the lake. This allowed me to properly expose for the very dark shoreline and forest in the middle. It was important for the image to look natural so the use of the denser 3-stop filter over the lake darkened the reflection about 1 stop more than the sky and the mountain, the way it 'normally' appears to our human eyes. I've found that using this 4x6 system is not only accurate and flexible, but also fast. It allows me to work on the fly and produce images that would have been nearly impossible using the smaller grads with the holders."

In the coming weeks, Joe plans to send more stories from this recent trip. In the meantime, you can visit his new blog and his website where you can learn more about his workshop schedule with Mountain Trail Photo Workshops.