Friday, October 23, 2009

What's most "special" about the Gold-N-Blue Polarizer is its exceptional versatility

About five years ago, Robert Servranckx combined his life-long passion for nature and wildlife with a decision to become a skilled outdoor photographer. Being the webmaster for noted nature photographers Gustav W. Verderber and Roy Toft certainly influenced that decision and provided much of the support he needed to become a part-time professional.

Rob considers his recent decision to buy a Singh-Ray Gold-N-Blue Polarizer as "the best way to increase my chances of getting some 'keeper' images on every outing. My day job leaves just a few hours on most weekends to do my own shooting. Now, even when the weather, lighting and travel schedule prove challenging, I'm often able save the day by going to the Gold-N-Blue Polarizer. That's why I’m always surprised to hear people describe the Gold-N-Blue as a 'specialty' filter... For me, it's more of a multi-purpose tool -- or a Swiss army knife -- that can be used in many different situations.

"If Mother Nature can't supply the colors I need to get 'the shot,' out comes my Gold-N-Blue Polarizer! The versatility of this filter never ceases to amaze me. It does wonders on water; on wet rocks, asphalt and cement; on hazy skies, and on anything that shines. As far as I am concerned, this is a “must-have” multi-purpose filter that can really save the day. Here are four examples of different weather and lighting situations the Gold-N-Blue helped me solve.

"The image above was taken late one morning, on a recent trip to explore new photo locations near my home. I ended up at the Coteau-du-Lac National Historic Site southwest of Montréal on the shores of the St. Lawrence River. The skies were clouding over, but with the gray skies and the neutral-colored water of the river, it seemed nearly impossible to get a dramatic shot -- there was simply no color to be seen at this time of the day. So I placed the Gold-N-Blue polarizer on my lens behind a George Lepp 4-stop Solid ND filter (to slow the exposure and blur the water) and the Singh-Ray Galen Rowell 3-stop hard-edged Graduated ND filter (to darken the cloudy sky) and... POW! A more powerful, dramatic and much more colorful image was created. Both the gold (lower-left to upper-right diagonal) and the blue (upper-left and lower-right) colors were added by the Gold-N-Blue Polarizer. It should be noted the clouds were also slightly polarized with gold (right) and blue (left), so I de-saturated these colors a bit in Photoshop to even out the sky. But this image was truly created by using these amazing Singh-Ray filters.

This past Labour Day, I headed out for a sunset shot to my favourite spot overlooking the Lake of Two Mountains just west of Montreal. On this occasion, the skies were completely clear and just a touch hazy -- really not a good combination to get good sunset colors in the sky. I popped on the Gold-N-Blue, looked through my camera’s viewfinder and turned the filter to get blue polarization on the foreground and the sky, and my jaw just dropped. The hazy sky picked up so much color, the foreground rocks turned a bit blue. Simply beautiful! I also used two additional filters on this shot: a 2-stop Graduated ND positioned about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom, and a 3-stop Graduated ND at the horizon to hold back the very bright sky.

"Spring is always an exciting time of year for me with the long, cold winter months finally coming to an end and the warm spring air promising good things to come. But during an outing at a nearby marsh in late March, I realized I was a just a bit too anxious to start spring photography. With the harsh sunlight of the late morning, the colors of the plants were completely washed out and the sky was a milky blue. I had tried using a regular polarizer to see if it would improve the image, but the sun was too high in the sky and at the wrong angle (almost directly behind me) to turn the sky blue. In this situation, popping on the Gold-N-Blue turned the milky blue sky a rich and beautiful blue and also added a warming touch of yellow to the plants. OK, so this image is not 'spectacular' -- it’s more of an environmental/natural history image... but it shows what the Gold-N-Blue can do in harsh sunlight conditions.

"Of course, there are times when you don’t need to use the Gold-N-Blue polarizer. This next image of Moss Glen falls, near Granville, Vermont, would have been gorgeous even if I had used a normal polarizer. But it's sometimes fun to try different things. Notice how the rocks have a beautiful golden hue? All thanks to the Gold-N-Blue!

"What I really find amazing when using my Singh-Ray filters is that they’ve almost completely eliminated my time spent in Photoshop. At this point, 99% of my image adjustments are simply done in my RAW converter (Adobe Camera Raw) when I convert my images, so that I can spend a lot less time behind the computer, and more time doing what I love most: nature photography."

You can see more of Rob’s work on the Sojourns In Nature website and on their blog.

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