The idea with this first photo was to combine the heavy clouds with the strong wind that swept them along and with the little splash of colour on the horizon provided by the rising sun. I chose to use a combination of the 2-stop hard-step Singh-Ray Graduated ND filter with the LB ColorCombo. The 2-stop hard-step ND Grad filter not only helped balance the exposure, but it also kept much more detail in the clouds. The LB ColorCombo not only helped preserve the definition of the clouds, it intensified the colours and allowed me to work at a 2-stops slower shutter speed in order to accentuate the sweeping effect in the clouds. The combination of my ND Grads with the LB ColorCombo is one that I am liking a lot.
These photos two photos were taken at around 5:30 in the morning. The best thing about photographing early in the morning is that I really get a sense of silence and calm as the world feels almost empty. On this particular day, I wanted to be in a location where I could see the sunrise. Well, I found nothing but really fast moving clouds in the sky. Never got to see the sun, but the light was nonetheless dramatic. When I am photographing a scene, one of the things I am always watching is the way the light interacts with the clouds. Clouds play an important role in my images by either adding drama to the scene or adding a bit of colour to it.
As the sun was rising to the left of the frame, there was just one brief moment when the sunlight broke through the clouds and touched the top of the jetty. The LB ColorCombo helped enhanced both that subtle change in light and also the greens. It also allowed me to work at a slower shutter speed in order to capture the sweeping movement of the clouds and better define them at the same time. I used a 2-stop hard-step ND filter to balance the light.
In this photo, the clouds had much more subtle colours. What initially attracted me to these clouds was not so much the light, but their shape and the brushstroke effect on them. The intent with this image was just to maintain the subtle colours of the clouds and not enhance them too much. For this reason, I opted to only use a 2-stop hard-step ND Grad to balance the exposure and keep enough detail on the clouds.
Soon after purchasing my Singh-Ray LB Neutral Polarizer, recently, I went to this location — which I had previously photographed — to see how the filter would perform. My initial idea was to combine the Neutral Polarizer with the 3-stop hard-step ND Grad. The polarizer was used to enhance the definition of the clouds and also to saturate the colours a bit more. The 3-stop hard-step ND Grad was used to balance the exposure levels of the sky and the foreground. Then came the surprise of the day when I added a third filter, the Singh-Ray 5-stop Solid ND filter. The longer exposure enabled me to capture the subtle shades of pink and purple that were not at all perceptible to my naked eye.