Friday, October 09, 2009

The LB ColorCombo is his “go-to” filter to enhance Hawaii’s magical greens and blues

“Some photographers have a ‘go-to’ lens,” says Hawaii-based photographer Joel Addams. “I now have a ‘go-to’ filter for all of my mountain shots here in Hawaii: it's the Singh-Ray LB ColorCombo. I'm currently doing my mountain landscape photography on Oahu -- even though most landscape photographers will tell you that either Kauai or the Big Island is the only place to go. Not so. Oahu’s green foliage is just as vibrant, and there are many hidden gems if we just take the time to discover them. The best way I've found to get exciting color into each shot is to use the LB ColorCombo filter as a standard.

“In Hawaii, you deal with two overwhelming colors. Green and blue. If you're on the coast, think blue and a few of the extra warm sunrise and sunset colors. For the mountains, trails, and forests, however, I am almost overwhelmed by that wonderful color: green. I went out specifically one afternoon to hunt down a bamboo forest on the southern half of Oahu. The well-hiked Manoa Falls trail brought me both a good workout and the bamboo that I was looking for about halfway up the trail. Passing hikers may have thought I was crazy because the forest had started to darken with the fading afternoon sun. Fortunately, Singh-Ray made it easier for me by creating the LB ColorCombo filter, which not only gave me the polarizer that I wanted to cut some of the glare on the bamboo, but also provided the color intensifier which subtly enhanced the radiant greens of the young bamboo shoots. In addition, the 'lighter, brighter' ColorCombo is a full f-stop faster than the previous generation, thereby enabling me to use faster shutter speeds and reduce the possibility of camera movement.

"The green foliage of Oahu’s mountains is unrelenting, and I find much of the ground foliage shines with a waxy layer of resin. Cutting through that glare is essential to improving foliage photography. In the past, I would have had to use a "regular" polarizer plus an intensifier, but the 2 or more f-stops of additional density would have required much slower shutter speeds which could cause the foliage to blur.

"Some flower photographers rely on a large white soft-tent structure to assure glare-free color saturation, but I find the easier and cheaper solution to be the LB ColorCombo which lets me avoid the hassle of carrying more equipment. As a bonus, the color intensifier built into the LB ColorCombo subtly enhances the rich greens in the plants.

“The green vistas should be captured both with and without the LB ColorCombo. You’ll quickly see and appreciate the difference! The following two images were taken on the Olomana Trail leading to three ragged peaks between Honolulu and Kailua. The first one is a sunrise shot overlooking Kailua. I was up and out of the canopy and the warming polarizer portion of the filter did its job well -- cutting through the glare from the sky and adding warmth to the sunlight hitting the background mountains. The color intensifier's contribution is obvious in the foreground foliage which seemed to pop out of my screen. It needed no help from software.”

Joel continues to believe in changing as little as possible in the post-processing. Singh-Ray filters help him to do this without making images look manipulated. Later on in the hike, he let his friend climb the steeps of Peak #2 and #3 in order to capture this final image. “I wanted the east-facing mountains in the background to look distant and retain their faded softness. By using a long lens (200 mm) and the ColorCombo, this late morning shot still retained the greens that covered the jagged peak. It also retained the warmth in the last of the morning light.”

“Having shot for so long with the LB ColorCombo, I think my lens would feel naked without it. It's become my standard filter for all mountain shots here in Hawaii, largely because it handles the greens and blues so well. I would suggest any serious photographer coming to shoot in Hawaii should consider bringing one along."

Joel is looking forward to more landscape and outdoor sports shooting on the islands prior to teaching his first workshop in Hawaii next year. For more details, you can follow his website as well as his profile on Facebook.

Editor's note: to fully appreciate the richness of the detail and color, be sure to 'click to enlarge' the images above.

1 comment:

ADK said...

Very beautiful