Archive for Singh-Ray Filters

Lee Holder vs Cokin Z-Pro Holder

Posted in Filter, Photography Gear, TCBlog, Techniques, Videos, VWBlog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2011 by Darwin

Note: To see all future reviews please note this blog is no longer active, please visit me over at

If you have a full frame camera and plan to use and combine filters for your photography then you’ll likely want a filter holder. The two primary options are:

The Lee Holder – available in the USA at B+H photo and in Canada from The Camera Store

The Cokin Z-Pro Holder – available in the USA at B+H photo and in Canada from The Camera Store

To learn which holder I think is more practical watch this video:

Now the only problem is that the future of Cokin filters is up in the air – there may or may not be new product made, so buy your Cokin holders while you can just in case… and even if you don’t use them someone out there will want to buy your filter holders.

For more on filters see these links:

Essential Filters for Digital Nature Photography

Advanced Filters for Digital Nature Photography

©Darwin Wiggett - no filters

©Darwin Wiggett - Singh-Ray LB Warming Poalrizer and Singh-Ray 2-stop hard-edge grad filter


Painting with Time

Posted in Art of Photography, Articles about Photography, Good News, Inspirations, Instruction, Photography Gear, TCBlog, Techniques with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2011 by Darwin

Samantha and I have a new article up on the Singh-Ray blog about using ND filters to “Paint with Time“. Check it out if you are interested in creating images with swirls and blurs of motion. Click on the photo to see a larger version of the image.

©Darwin Wiggett

New eBook – Advanced Filters for Digital Nature Photography

Posted in Art of Photography, eBooks, Filter, Good News, Image Processing and Software, Instruction, Photography Gear, TCBlog, Techniques, VWBlog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2011 by Darwin

Note: To see all future ebook releases, please visit us over at

Samantha and I have just released our latest eBook on Advanced Filters for Digital Nature Photography.

This eBook continues where our last eBook, Essential Filters for Digital Nature Photography, left off and introduces photographers to advanced filter techniques that lead to creative imagery often impossible to replicate in software.

Learn how to use in-camera filters to create unique and desirable effects. Darwin and Samantha cover the Gold-N-Blue and Blue/Yellow polarizing filters, the 1.5 stop hard-edge grad filter for reflection photos, the Daryl Benson reverse ND grad filter, and specialty ND filters like Lee’s Big Stopper and Singh-Rays trio of Vari-ND filters.

Learn how to correct colour casts caused by filtration in post-production, see why a 1.5 stop ND grad is the solution for perfect reflection photos, discover why the Daryl Benson reverse ND grad is an essential filter for prairie and desert photography, and be creative by using ND and Vari-ND filters to ‘paint with time’. Finally, Darwin and Samantha show you the creative power of combining two or more of these filters for expressive and creative photography. The eBook costs $10, is 49 pages long and is available here.

Your Best of 2010 Photo Contest

Posted in Good News, Instruction, Monthly Photo Contest, Photography Gear, TCBlog with tags , , , , , , , on November 29, 2010 by Darwin

We are launching a new photo contest over at Visual Wilderness! The theme is Your Best of 2010 and, as a happy coincidence with the release of our eBook Essential Filters for Digital Nature Photography, the prize for this contest is Singh-Ray’s new Vari-N-Trio filter (see my review of the filter here). To see what this filter can do check out last week’s weekly photo. Entries will be accepted starting on Dec. 1, 2010. Final deadline is Dec. 31, 2010 at 11:59 EST. To enter go to Visual Wilderness and click on Enter The Contest. Thanks to the good folks over at Singh-Ray for donating a fantastic prize!

* Density can be varied from 4 to 8 f-stops just by rotating the indicator from Min to Max

* Polarization is controlled by rotating BOTH rings together, at any density setting

* Color enhancement is always working to subtly intensify the colors in your scene

* Allows you to use longer exposures to blur motion or flowing water, or other long-exposure effects

* Permits use of larger apertures in bright light for more shallow depth-of-field effects

* The built-in polarizer reduces glare from sky, water, wet surfaces, glass, and other reflective surfaces to improve color saturation and contrast

* Can function like an “iris” for digital video cameras to control exposure

* Available in 77mm only (Standard and Thin Ring mounts)

The Daily Snap – September 28

Posted in Techniques, The Daily Snap with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2010 by Darwin

Many photographers do not bother with filters on point-n-shoot camera, but I am a firm believer in filters, especially the polarizing filter which has an effect that can not be replicated exactly in software (especially the polarizer’s effect of removing reflective highlights). Compare the two photos taken below with the Canon G11. The top one was taken with a Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer. Notice the increased colour saturation and especially how reflective glare was eliminated from the path and the yellow leaves in the left foreground. The un-polarized bottom shot is drab by comparison.

©Darwin Wiggett - polarized version

©Darwin Wiggett - no polarizer

Photographer of the Month – Cole Thompson

Posted in Artistic Development, Image Processing and Software, Inspirations, Photographer of the Month, Photography Gear, TCBlog, Techniques with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2010 by Darwin

I first became aware of Cole Thompson’s work from an image I saw published in Photo Life magazine in 2006 (the first image below). I was blown away by the creativity and mood in the photo. That image has stuck with my to this day. In the meantime I have seen Cole’s fine art B+W work in numerous publications including B+W magazine, American Photo and LensWork to name a few. I wanted to share with you Cole’s work just in case he is not known to you. I asked Cole a few questions about his work and here are his responses:

Darwin: Why do you think B+W captures “the feelings that lie beneath the surface” where colour photography can not?  Further to this why does fine art photography almost always take the form of B+W? Can colour photography ever seriously be considered art?

Cole: Why B&W? That’s a question I often ask myself and others. I think there a lot of “answers” but I only know what I “feel.”. Even as a boy, I would look at the b&w images of the great masters (Adams, Weston, Capinigro, Bullock, Cunningham and others) and I would experience a physical reaction. It’s something I don’t have the capability to put into words, but I’m not sure that’s important; I just love black and white.

I think that it’s simply a matter of preference with some appreciating black and white while others love color. Is color photography considered serious art? I would never judge what art is and what is not, I wouldn’t even try to define what art is!

Darwin: Can you talk about what project you are currently working on? Is it a portfolio with a theme? Do you enjoy working more as a grazer (your words) or under the constraints of producing themed work in a portfolio?

Cole: I’m currently working on two projects, Harbinger and The Fountainhead.

The Harbinger series was started by accident when I created Harbinger No. 1 in 2008. I had been photographing the hills in Utah and was heading back to the car when I saw this solitary cloud moving rapidly over the hills. I instantly knew that in a few seconds it was going to be perfectly placed over the hill I was just photographing. I ran back up the hill, quickly unpacked my gear and just barely had time to create this one perfect image. When I name a series the name is usually my instinctive first choice and for me this cloud was a harbinger.

Initially I never thought that I’d have much chance to find other Harbingers, but the more I became aware of them , the more I began to find. I have a small collection of them and am hoping to finish them in the short term.

I’m often asked what does Harbinger mean? I’m not one to tell others what my images mean and so simply give this definition:

Harbinger: \ˈhär-bən-jər\ noun

1. one that goes ahead and makes known the approach of another; herald.

2. anything that foreshadows a future event; omen; sign.

The other series I’m actively working on is The Fountainhead, the title inspired by the novel of the same name by Ayn Rand. It is the story of a rogue architect, an individualist named Howard Roarke who refuses to conform to the ideas of society. My favorite lines and currently my artist statement for the series is:

Ellsworth M. Tooey: My dear fellow, who will let you?

Howard Roarke: That’s not the point. The point is, who will stop me?

This series combines two of the loves in my life; architecture and photography. It is a modern and abstract interpretation of architecture with the affects created in-camera using “old school” techniques. For now my techniques are a closely guarded secret!

You asked if I still enjoyed “photographic grazing” which is the name I gave to my wanderings as I searched for “one-hit wonders.” No, I no longer create this way. Once I started working on portfolios or cohesive bodies of work, I find it difficult to work in any other manner. Portfolios give me purpose and focus.

I’ve also worked a great deal with long exposures, initially creating “fluid water” images and then moving onto people after seeing the work of Alexey Titarenko. His influence led me a once in a lifetime opportunity to photograph the death camps in a very different way that I had seen them portrayed before. The series “The Ghosts of Auschwitz and Birkenau” is perhaps the work I am most proud of.

Darwin: From a practical point-of view, how do you do your long exposures, with filters, waiting for dim light, a combination of both?

Cole: My long exposures are created using 13 stops of neutral density filters. I use a fixed 5 stop ND filter and then stack a second filter on that, a Singh-Ray Vari-ND variable filter which gives me up to an additional 8 stops of neutral density. Using these two filters I am able to obtain 30 second exposures in full daylight. Most all of my long exposures are created in daylight even though many have the appearance of being created at night.

I have used the long exposure most recently in my series “The Lone Man” which combines my love of water with people. It explores the contemplative nature that overcome people as they ponder the enormity of the sea and the smallness of self.

Darwin: Finally, do you shoot with a digital camera in colour and then change to B+W in post-production, or do you capture your images in monochrome in camera?

Cole: I create in digital using monochrome mode and in RAW. This does two things; first it displays the image on the preview screen in B&W and second it keeps the digital file in color so that I can convert it to B&W myself. I don’t want the camera converting the image for me and I use the Photoshop supplied B&W converter, often tweaking the color channels drastically.

My workflow is simple and my digital techniques often mimic my darkroom techniques, making extensive use of dodging and burning. My primary philosophy is to use simple procedures that do not distract from my primary purpose of creating a visual expression of my vision.

To see more of Cole Thompson’s work go to his website and also be sure to stop by his blog

©Cole Thompson

©Cole Thompson

©Cole Thompson

©Cole Thompson

©Cole Thompson

©Cole Thompson

©Cole Thompson

©Cole Thompson

©Cole Thompson

©Cole Thompson

Weekly Photo – July 30

Posted in Articles about Photography, Inspirations, Photography Gear, TCBlog, Techniques, Weekly Photo with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2010 by Darwin

©Darwin Wiggett - Canon EOS-1ds Mark III, 24mm Tilt-Shift Lens

I used my standard ‘prairie’ filtering technique (a Singh-Ray Cokin Z-pro sprocket mount LB warming polarizer plus a 4×6 Singh-Ray Two-Stop hard-Edge Grad in a Cokin Z-Pro Holder) to even out the exposure between the sky and the foreground in this scene. I also used the shift feature on my Canon 24mm TSE lens to make a big square image (click on the photo to see a larger version). If you are interested in exactly how I made this photo, check out the video below. The only thing the video does not show is my post-processing procedure which is simply using Photo Merge in Photoshop CS-5 to merge the two component images. Finally I used a strong s-curve on the photo to punch up the contrast in the scene. As you will see the video is ‘on the fly’ (or mosquito in this case) and anything can happen.

Weekly Photo – July 23

Posted in Photography Gear, Techniques, Weekly Photo with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2010 by Darwin

©Darwin Wiggett - Canon EOS-1ds Mark III

Here is another photo from the Extreme Saskatchewan Tour in June. This photo was taken just as the sun sunk below the horizon. The car was close to a shed and I needed a wide angle lens to get the front of the car totally in the photo. I used my Canon 24mm TSE lens on my Canon EOS-1ds Mark III camera. I placed a Singh-Ray P-sized sprocketed Gold-N-Blue polarizer into the Cokin P-Series Filter Holder on my lens and rotated it to give me the gold-n-blue reflections you see on the on the windshield and the hood. I also tilted the lens into the plane of the car hood to get great depth-of-field. I then chose an aperture of F14 so that I would get a longer exposure time  (8 seconds) so that I would have time to light the headlights of the car with my pocket flashlight. The single exposure was processed in Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop CS-5. Click on the photo for a larger view.

The Daily Snap – July 8

Posted in Techniques, The Daily Snap with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2010 by Darwin

©Darwin Wiggett

Sunrise from yesterday taken near Cochrane, Alberta. Canon G11 with a Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer and a Singh-Ray 2-stop hard-step grad over the sky. To see how I use grads in the field go here.

Grad Filter Video

Posted in Photography Gear, Techniques with tags , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2010 by Darwin

©Darwin Wiggett - No filters used

©Darwin Wiggett - Singh-Ray 2-Stop Hard-Step filter over sky

Unscripted video – can you catch my dyslexia in at least two places? Doh!