Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ethan Meleg's drop-in LB Warming Polarizer greatly improves his long lens imaging

As nature photographer Ethan Meleg travels ever further from his Ontario base, he has more and more time to contemplate his choice of gear. Not just the big stuff like his 500mm Canon f/4 IS lens, but the much smaller yet sometimes essential items, like the Singh-Ray "drop-in" LB Warming Polarizer.

"Polarizers are the bread-and-butter filter for outdoor photography," says Ethan. "I rarely shoot a landscape, macro or tourism photo without a polarizer on the front of my lens. Most photographers are keenly aware of the benefits -- reducing glare off wet or shiny surfaces, improving saturation, and making clouds pop dramatically against the sky. These same benefits often apply to photographing wildlife with super-telephoto lenses.

"Rather than trying to mount a huge polarizer on the front of a super-telephoto lens, there are much smaller “drop-in” filters that are inserted near the rear of the lens. I bought one for my Canon 500mm f/4 IS and was very excited to learn that Singh-Ray could upgrade the stock Canon polarizer that comes with the drop-in unit to an LB Warming Polarizer. The Singh-Ray LB “lighter-brighter” polarizer is nearly twice as fast as a typical polarizer and that is important to me, especially when using long lenses that amplify camera shake. Every bit of shutter speed counts when using a long telephoto lens!



"I find myself using this filter most often when shooting birds or mammals that are wet. While photographing Harlequin Ducks and Purple Sandpipers on the Atlantic Coast at Barnegat, New Jersey this past winter – the LB drop-in polarizer was my weapon of choice to reduce glare off the wet rocks and water surface, thereby creating much richer saturation in the photos.

"The image at the top of this story is one of several captured on a recent safari in Kenya. I arrived at the famous Mara River crossing late in the morning and the light had already become harsh. There was a pasty glaze cast on everything, and I normally wouldn't even bother to shoot in those conditions, but it was my first experience being that close to hippos and there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity. Hippos are one of my favorite animals! By using the Singh-Ray drop-in polarizer in my 500mm lens, I was able to significantly reduce the wet glare off the hippos and achieve excellent color saturation. This one little filter salvaged the photo shoot."

All three of these images were shot with the Canon 500/4 IS lens with a 1.4 teleconverter.

Ethan is preparing for his upcoming Nature Photography Seminar, May 5 at Niagara on the Lake, Ontario. This all-day seminar at the Welland Camera Club will include tips and techniques for using filters to create dramatic photos. There are also a couple of spots left for his "Wildflowers of the Bruce Penninsula" workshop in June. Click here for details.

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Note: To upgrade your drop-in polarizer, you'll need to ship the drop-in polarizer that fits your lens to Singh-Ray along with payment for the LB Warming Polarizer glass plus $50 custom mounting fee ($260 + shipping). This service is also available for our Gold-N-Blue Polarizer ($240 + shipping), or LB ColorCombo ($420 + shipping). For more information, call Singh-Ray at 863-993-4100.

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