Friday, August 14, 2009

Learning to photograph where we are, prepares us to photograph anywhere we go

Like many serious landscape photographers, Chris Moore finds that balancing the demands of a busy career, family life, and the search for dramatic landscapes is a challenge. "With just a couple of weeks a year to travel to exotic places," says Chris, "my appetite for landscape photography has to be fulfilled close to home most of the time. Since integrating Singh-Ray filters into my workflow over the past year, however, I'm capturing more dramatic images wherever I'm shooting. It's mostly here today, but anywhere tomorrow.

"My first, and favorite, filter is the Singh-Ray Vari-ND which I use regularly to allow longer exposures and capture the serenity of a setting. Unlike standard neutral density filters, the Vari-ND allows me to quickly and accurately control my long exposures based on the instant feedback provided by my histogram. I frequently stack the LB Warming Polarizer with the Vari-ND to add an additional stop and bring out the vibrant colors of trees and flowers.

"Recently I spent a long weekend in Birmingham, Alabama, and hiked down to Peavin Falls. It was late morning, just after a heavy rainfall which gave a sheen to the rocks. The sun was diffused by the trees, giving the falls a soft glow. I composed the shot above using my Canon 5D at f/16, with my ISO on 100 for a 10-second exposure. I stacked the Vari-ND and Warming Polarizer to accentuate the motion of the water and warm glow of the rocks while also reducing the glare and reflections.

"Another favorite location of mine is Washington Oaks Gardens State Park in Palm Coast, Florida. Stretching along the Atlantic Coast about an hour from where I live, this rocky shore is unique to the florida coast. On a recent sunrise shoot I used the Galen Rowell Graduated ND filter to expose the scene for the rising sun and to emphasize the water breaking over the rocky shore.

"After sunrise I changed the mood by using the Vari-ND to soften the water with a longer exposure and diffuse the bright rays of the morning sun.

"I have found the Hi-Lux Warming UV filter is excellent for portrait photography, and I've also incorporated it rather effectively into my landscape workflow as well. As seen in the photo above, the Hi-Lux gives me a more subtle warming effect along with excellent color quality and contrast for certain situations.

"Although used less frequently, the Singh-Ray I-Ray Infrared Filter is a favorite for exploring my own creativity. Big Talbot Island, also known as Driftwood Beach and Boneyard Beach, is a State Park in northeast Florida, featuring a very unique eroding coastline and beach scattered with driftwood and fallen trees. I was lucky enough to capture just the right moment when the roots of this large tree split the sunlight to cast an interesting shadow along the beach.

Chris is a physician in Orange Park, Florida. He has several photo projects in progress -- to be released later this year -- involving night photography, star trails, painting with light, and infrared landscapes. You can follow his ventures and extensive gallery by visiting his website.

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