As co-founder and technical editor for NatureScapes.net on-line photo magazine, nature and landscape photographer E.J. Peiker evaluates all his photo gear with an expert's eye. "Last summer," says E.J., "I wrote about using the LB Warming Polarizer during my trip to Alaska. I liked that -- compared to older polarizers -- this "LB" polarizer provides 2/3-stop more light to my viewfinder image and shutter speeds, especially in critical low-light situations where polarization is needed to bring out the color saturation of the subject and cut out unwanted reflections. I also liked that more light gets to the AF sensors which means greater autofocusing accuracy -- especially when photographing in the early and late hours that landscape photographers prefer. I also wished in my story that Singh-Ray had a non-warming version of this filter. Singh-Ray listened! Well, actually they already had a neutral, non-warming version in development when I wrote my story, but I didn't know it at the time. Recently the folks at Singh-Ray sent me the LB Neutral Polarizer to test out.
"A couple of weeks after receiving the neutral polarizer, I had a photo shoot at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix Arizona. This is one of the nation's premiere desertscape botanical gardens. What was special about this shoot was that it featured examples of blown-glass sculptures by world-famous glass artist Chihuli. This special exhibit integrated Chihuli's beautiful and brightly colored art into the natural desert environment of the botanical garden. I could not have come upon a better situation to test out the LB Neutral Polarizer.
"For the image above --incorporating Chihuli's Red Flames into the desert garden at dusk-- I used my Nikon D700 with a 24-70mm lens and my Singh-Ray LB Neutral Polarizer to saturate colors and bring out some of the colors in the clouds. The extra 2/3 stop of light transmitted by the filter helped prevent movement in the mesquite.
"Chihuli's glass Blue Petal taken with the D700, 70-300mm and LB Polarizer popped off of the frame due to the polarizer. This is one of those situations where the non-warming version really excels as it does not impose a warm tone onto the light blue which can shift it's color a bit too far towards green. If I shot this with a regular warming polarizer, I would have to adjust that green cast out with white balance which then would also reduce the greens of the background.
The last two images show Chihuli's Boat in the Desert Sea taken with Singh-Ray LB Neutral Polarizer to take much of the reflection off of the marbles and give definition to the early evening sky. The blown glass marbles in the boat were captured with a 300mm lens. I adjusted the polarizer to eliminate most of the reflections and saturate the beautiful colors.
"Several of the photos you see here were taken in low light, so the extra 2/3 stop of light for my D700 and 24-70mm Nikon lens was much appreciated. This also gave me a little extra margin of error with any potential movement of the plants or glass induced by the wind. As you can see from the photos, the colors just pop and the unwanted reflections are eliminated.
"Personally, I prefer a filter that does not add even the slightest warming color, but I really like the idea of not losing a lot of light to get the important polarization effect I need. The LB Neutral Polarizer does just that, and I see no negative qualities in this filter whatsoever. There are very few perfect products in this world but I think I would throw this one into that category. This filter will most definitely become my primary polarizing filter. It is especially timely since the wildflower season is just starting here in southern half of my home state of Arizona."