Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Brian Rueb says his Singh-Ray Warming polarizer put more POP in his pics from Italy

California landscape and travel photographer Brian Rueb would have trouble picking his absolute favorite Singh-Ray filter, but at the moment he's gained great respect for his LB Warming Polarizer. "Learning to use my camera to its full capabilities and limitations was a big step in my growth as a photographer, but one of the best things I learned was how and when to use filters to help my photography. I'm out in the field shooting quite often in a variety of light. Some of the light is straightforward and easy to manage. At other times, though, it's tricky and filled with contrasting light levels. Then there are those days with nothing but flat, dull, boring light.

"I recently returned from a whirlwind trip to Europe where I had the chance to really put my filters to use. One of the filters I've recently become a great fan of is my Singh-Ray Warming Polarizer. For me, this filter is as good as it gets. It not only adds the polarizing effect I need to control the reflections from wet surfaces, water, and skies, but it also adds a bit of pop to images during those times when the light is particularly flat.

"My time in Italy was fantastic, and while the skies never quite cooperated the way I hoped they would, I still had many great opportunities to shoot some magnificent Mediterranean light. The Warming Polarizer really helped.

"The first image (above) is a shot I took in the coastal town of Manarola, in Italy's Cinque Terre National Park. This picturesque little town has been photographed thousands of times, but it's always a treat to be in a location like this and see it for yourself. In the early morning dawn, I climbed down some rocks on the opposite shore for this shot, just as the sun illuminated the sky with warm pastel hues. I used my polarizer to not only help cut some unwanted glare off the water, but to give the image an overall warmth I quite enjoy.

"The next stop on my trip through northern Italy was Venice. I've been to this iconic city many times, but never before with the purpose of making photographs at the right time of day. Morning and evenings are so nice here. The morning sun in the Plaza San Marco hitting off the marble and stone walls is stunning. It was something I remembered well from my first trip here in the early 90s. I have an old slide sitting around that I shot one day from this location, but the warm feel of that light was never evident in the image. I vowed that someday I would make it back and shoot the image the way I had envisioned it when I took the previous one. This was one of those times I was glad there were no morning clouds as I got the sun rays just as they crested the horizon and illuminated the area. The sun cast wonderful lines and shadows through this narrow passage in the plaza. The stone walls have a sheen to them that I was able to maximize by using the polarizing part of the filter, giving the walls almost a shimmer.

"The third image was taken moments after I photographed the hallway as I walked along the Grand Canal looking for shots of the gondolas. I shot this image at 1/15 of a second to get a painterly look in the water and a slight movement to the boats. Again, the polarizing filter really helped accentuate that warmth from the rising sun. I also used a Singh-Ray 3-stop soft-step Graduated Neutral Density filter on this image to help balance the brightness of the morning sky.
"Like most serious landscape photographers, I put a lot of emphasis on the sky. What I really liked about using the Warming Polarizer was how it helped me deal with so many cloudless and unspectacular skies during this trip.

"Some warming filters can make images look very altered or create funky color casts. I find such stylized effects are seldom desirable. I much prefer a filter such as Singh-Ray's Warming Polarizer that gently accentuates the tones already present in the scene."

Even though Brian is a lead instructor at Aperture Academy in California and teaches over 35 in-the-field workshops yearly, he's also close to finishing his 300-page book chronicling his expedition to Iceland in 2010. Visit the Aperture Academy website for more details on his workshops. You can find more of his work on his website or add him on Facebook, and Google+.

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