Daryl Benson explains how he
"got lucky" and captured this image
On a recent trip, I found my first opportunity to shoot with the new LB ColorCombo filter. As advertised, it is definitely brighter to both look through and shoot through. I decided to put it on my lens and leave it there. This trip was more of a scouting trip with other business on the side so I was mostly driving. I kept the camera gear handy, as always, on the seat next to me. You know, just in case a moose jumped out of the bush doing a polka.
Shooting this way is often a very run-and-gun style. You see something, run out, shoot it, and on you go. By having filters already on my lenses and shooting without a tripod, I can save a few seconds. And sometimes seconds make the difference between merely seeing something and actually getting it on film (digital sensor). As a veteran landscape photographer, I know it's blasphemous to admit that I shoot anything without a tripod, but that's what I've been doing a good percentage of the time recently. It's now possible to bump the ISO setting up on my digital cameras, with very little loss of quality, and shoot hand-held more often. I find that liberating the camera from the tripod really frees me to explore a lot more possibilities as I poke about with just the camera in hand. Capturing the dramatic image you see here, for example, was possible only by adopting this "run-and-gun" shooting style.
As I was driving home from Valleyview, Northern Alberta, on a cloudy early morning, the gray sky suddenly opened up to let the sun shine through ... but only momentarily. I'm sure you've seen this sort of thing. The light when this happens is marvelous! It's like a warm spotlight surrounded by a deep purple overcast. The colour contrast is beautiful.
When I drove by this subject so beautifully lit in a nearby field, I stopped, grabbed the camera and dashed out into the field. Sometimes you get lucky.
I quickly shot five hand-held frames from different angles before the light faded and the overcast returned. In this image the ColorCombo definitely made a difference. Because I was shooting at a 90-degree angle to the sun, the built-in polarizer really worked its magic. When the sun popped out, the scene was bright enough that I could have used my "old" Singh-Ray Polarizer PLUS Color Intensifier and still hand-held the shot, but with the LB ColorCombo on the lens, I have 2/3 of an f-stop more light to work with and a bit more room for error (in other words, a faster shutter speed to offset camera shake created by my rapidly pounding heart that was nearly exhausted after sprinting a hundred yards across the field. Man am I ever out of shape!
I leave tomorrow morning for 10 days of peat bagging* into Mount Robson Park, British Columbia. Of course I'll have my Singh-Ray LB filters with me.
Outdoor photographer Daryl Benson is author of
A Guide to Photographing the Canadian Landscape
plus many other books and articles on photography.
* "peat bagging" is slang for roughing it a bit while eating your meals out of an old peat bag