Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Portuguese photographer reminds us how helpful filters can be anywhere in the world

José Viegas is a Portuguese photographer now living and operating his own auto importing business in Spain. He shoots mostly nature and landscape images. Jose captured this first image with his Nikon D700 in Carrasqueira, Portugal. "When I arrived, I was hoping to find a nice sunset full of red clouds reflecting on the calm waters. Instead I found an overcast, dull sky with a soft but flat light. I stayed there for a couple of hours getting to know that fantastic fishing harbor and looking for compositions that could work. As the sun approached the horizon, it began to cast a very soft, warm glow -- much like a huge light diffuser -- filling every corner with a magic light. I took this photo with a hand-held Singh-Ray 3-stop soft-step ND Grad filter to balance the foreground with the bright sunlit sky.

"You never know what the elements will give you when you go somewhere looking for exciting photo opportunities. When this image was taken near the small fishing village and seaside resort of Vila Nova de Milfontes in Portugal, I had just arrived for a 4-day visit. I figured I would have ample time the next day to scout the area for some good photos, so I was having a very relaxed dinner with my family at a small restaurant near the beach. I was waiting for the sunset and to see if the low tide would reveal the incredible textures of the rock formations just under the water. I was almost finished with dinner when this dramatic scene began to take place. I immediately hurried down to the beach with my camera, tripod and filters. For this shot, I used my Nikon D700 with a 3-stop Reverse ND Grad to balance the very bright light on the horizon with the rest of the sky.

"This shot was taken at sunset in the south of France with my Canon 5D Mark II and a 17-40L lens. I used a Mor-Slo ND filter and hand held a ND Grad 3-stop soft-step filter to balance the light of the sky with the foreground, I moved the grad filter slightly while exposing for 60 seconds so that no mark was left of the filter use. With the easy access to digital software and computers, many photographers shoot their photos very casually because they intend to 'fix them later in Photoshop.' I do my post-production edits as needed, but I much prefer being outside taking photos than spending a lot of time in front of my computer screen. That’s why I use my Singh-Ray filters at the scene to help improve my photos 'in camera' as much as possible. I like to combine different filters together to achieve better results by taking advantage of each filter’s special features.

"This shot was taken in Castilla la Mancha in the center of Spain. I used my Canon 5D Mark II and a 17-40L lens with my ColorCombo polarizer and a hand-held Singh-Ray 3-stop soft-step ND Grad for the sky. I love springtime because of all the color that fills the fields on the countryside. To best capture the intense colors of spring, I like to use the ColorCombo filter which improves the saturation of the greens, yellows and reds in my images."

Jose plans to start conducting landscape photography workshops in the near future to highlight the techniques he uses to get his images "right" in the camera. To see more of his landscapes, visit his gallery.

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