Tuesday, June 16, 2009

LB Warming Polarizer chosen to show this famous symbol of Japan in the right light

When Daryl Benson returned recently from two weeks in Japan, he sent a number of images taken with his Singh-Ray filters. Rather than try to choose between his always impressive photos, we're going to run his report in several parts, each focusing on a different type of filter used. Here's his first story about capturing Japan's most familiar landmark with the LB Warming Polarizer.

"It didn’t even seem like a conscious decision," says Daryl, "I just instinctively reached for my LB Warming Polarizer. The morning light was illuminating Mount Fuji from the side and at this angle (looking 90 degrees from the light source) I knew the polarizer would darken the sky and cause the snow-covered peak to pop out. And so did the cherry blossoms in the foreground and -- after adding a kick of fill-flash -- the contrast was even more pronounced. Because Singh-Ray's LB Warming Polarizer allows more light to pass through, I could go with a smaller aperture here and get the depth of field I needed, while still allowing sufficient light from the flash to come through the filter and smaller aperture.

"Conditions were awesome that morning. A rare, perfectly clear sky over Mt. Fuji, cherry blossoms at their peak and no wind. Once confident that I had captured the first shot, I began wishing that a wind would come up. With longer exposures, half a second or more, and fill flash you can often get interesting results with subjects in motion. The micro-second burst of electronic flash illuminates and freezes the foreground subject while the wind moves it around during the remaining exposure creating a ghosting effect that can be quite dramatic. I thought for a second of shaking the tree branches to create some movement, but after doing a quick count, I dismissed that idea. The ten other photographers standing shoulder to shoulder under this same tree would probably kick the crap out of me. I had gotten to this location well before 5:00 am only to find scores of photographers already lined up under every bloomin’ cherry tree! Most were Japanese and I suspect they had scouted out their compositions days ahead just waiting for the perfect morning. I relied heavily on a favourite technique to be there when conditions were just perfect... dumb luck! Despite the hyper-crowded location I was able to find a couple nice compositions of Mt. Fuji through the cherry blossoms. Mainly by standing back a little further and shooting over everyone’s heads.

"I eventually left the crowd behind and strolled further around the lake looking for other compositions with Mt. Fuji. I soon came across this beautiful weeping willow in fresh spring leaf and used the exact same technique as with the cherry blossoms, my Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizing filter and fill-flash. I had this tree completely to myself, not a soul around. Japan’s funny that way."

We'll have more from Daryl's recent adventure over the next few weeks. You can see more fine images from Japan and learn more about Daryl's photo books and related projects at his website.

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