Singh-Ray Filters

I've been meaning to get more into landscape photography lately.  The Really Right Stuff tripod package I purchased recently along with lenses such as the Nikkor 10-24mm DX and 24mm f1.4G make nice landscape setups.  Something lacking from my kit: filters!  I just ordered a couple graduated neutral density filters (the Cokin P size) from Singh Ray.  What's a graduated neutral density filter??  Well, a normal neutral density filter simply acts like sunglasses for your camera lens and lowers the amount of light that passes through the sensor without altering colors (hence NEUTRAL density).  A graduated neutral density fades from the desired stop amount (often 1, 2, 3, or 4 stops) to clear.  This allows you to hold back the sky and the sun while leaving the foreground (ocean, field, whatever) unaffected.  You get a more balanced exposure with sky and foreground using them.  I also got a reverse graduated neutral density.  This guy is darkest in the middle, fades to gray on end, and is clear on the other.  This one is perfect for shots where the sun is right on the horizon and about to set.  Anyway, I just received the filters I ordered today and I have to say I'm pretty impressed with what I got.  Each filter has it's own little pouch (something I was not anticipating) and Singh-Ray included a 35 minute DVD on how to use and get the most out of filters in their lineup.  Another added bonus!  So far impressed with what I got so gotta give props to Singh-Ray. Hopefully I'll have examples to post here shortly....stay tuned. PS Singh-Ray has a pretty cool blog where a lot of photographers share their stuff and tips with filters here

B+W ND 3.0 MRC Filter

I finally got to take a little vacation and decided to do some shooting along the way.  Along with my truckload of gear I brought along a new toy: the B+W ND 3.0 MRC filter.  I picked up one from B&H last week.  It is a neutral density filter, but just not any neutral density filter.  It decreases the light coming through the lens of the camera by a whopping 10 stops (even more if stacked with other filters like polarizers).  Why on earth would you want to reduce light transmission 10 stops you might ask??  From what I understand, this filter was made for astronomical sun studies, welding applications, anything that would involve photographing insanely bright things.  Along the way, photographers discovered this filter had another use.  It allows you do long exposure shots in broad daylight!  Imagine the kinds of things you can do with 30 second exposures in broad daylight!  Unfortunately this specialty filter does not come without any caveats.  There are two issues with such a dense filter.  First, seeing through the lens is damn near impossible with the filter attached.  Second, autofocus is also rather difficult.  You also have to use a tripod for the kind of work I'm interested in.  What you end up having to do is composing your scene and focusing with the filter detached, putting on the filter, and then hitting the shutter.  Your camera may also have difficulty metering so there's going to be some trial and error getting the correct exposure.  It's definitely not a filter for the lazy but I've had a lot of fun with it so far.  Here are some examples from flickr that people have shot and below you can see some I took today.  I'm hoping to get more shots with the filter while I'm down on the coast (it's great for moving water) so stay tuned! Pics taken with Nikon D300, Nikkor 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 DX, 77mm Hoya UV, 77mm B+W ND 3.0 MRC at ISO 100, F/8, 30 seconds (at around 5 pm).  Post processing done with Adobe Lightroom 2.x, Photoshop CS5, Nik Dfine and Silver Efex Pro. [gallery]