Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Russ Bishop has enjoyed a successful 20-year career with the full support of his Singh-Ray filters.

Russ Bishop has been an outdoor photographer for over twenty years, and although his cameras have changed considerably during that time (most notably the transition from film to digital imaging), one thing has remained the same -- his continuing trust in Singh-Ray Filters.

"Back in the days when I shot color transparency film, filters were an indispensable part of my technique. The Graduated ND filters enabled me to balance the exposure levels in the bright sky with those in the shaded foreground areas. The polarizers allowed me to control the reflected light and improve the color saturation in each image. Well guess what? Fast forward to the digital age and I'm still enjoying the same benefits today.

"When I'm working with a challenging image that's not quite right, it’s easy to get caught in the trap of saying 'I’ll just fix it in Lightroom or Photoshop,' but the truth is my Singh-Ray filters are every bit as essential in this digital age as they were in the days of film. Photography, after all, is about shaping and controlling light, and whether my image is preserved in celluloid or pixels, there is still no substitute for capturing the best possible image up front.

"I've also learned to resist the temptation to upgrade my camera body every year or so to take advantage of the latest improvements in low noise performance or fast focusing capabilities. For my money, the best investments I make more often involve buying the best optics I can afford. My lenses are the most important investments in my photography. And of course it doesn't make sense to put anything other than the highest quality filters in front of that expensive glass, which is why I always choose Singh-Ray.

"Two filters I consider most essential are the Singh-Ray Graduated Neutral Density (GND) and the Singh-Ray LB ColorCombo (polarizer plus color intensifier). The GND filters are available in several densities with either hard or soft transitions that allow me to control the contrast in all those landscape scenes where the foreground is in shadow and the sky and distant background are much brighter. Looking through my viewfinder, it's always nice to see how the GND filters suddenly intensify the washed out clouds to reveal more detail and colors while, at the same time, the foreground subjects emerge from the deep shadows and reveal their natural colors. Positioning the Graduated ND filter takes only a little practice so that the density of the gradient seamlessly blends into the horizon and is not obvious in the final image.

"The two landscape images (above) captured in Zion and Bryce National Parks in Utah were classic high-dynamic-range scenes that were quickly and perfectly balanced by using my 2 and 3-stop GND. Very little was changed in post production.

"My other primary filter is the polarizer component of the LB ColorCombo, which blocks the reflected polarized light rays that produce glare from water and foliage. By turning the filter, I can control the amount of reflected polarized light reaching the lens, which results in more saturated colors, darker skies and increased overall contrast.

"In addition, the polarizer and intensifier in my LB ColorCombo combine to work like a 2-stop neutral density filter to slow exposure times allowing for a silky effect when shooting flowing water. The Singh-Ray LB ColorCombo definitely spends more time on the front of my lens than any other filter.

"These last two images -- the dogwood in Yosemite and the fall aspens in the eastern Sierra Nevada -- benefited from the increased saturation provided by the ColorCombo filter. And in the classic scene from Yosemite, the slower shutter speed created just the soft look I was trying to achieve in the Merced River.

"Singh-Ray offers many other excellent filters, but these two are a great starting point for creating more dynamic images and saving considerable time at the computer."

Russ is constantly updating his various websites, portfolios, and social media presences. Check them out at the links below for all his newest images and adventures.

RussBishop.com | Blog | Facebook | Google+ | 500px | Twitter | Linked In | Photoshelter