By Wayne Bennett
One of the greatest joys I, as a photographer, have had over the past three decades is to have met some pretty wonderful people. People with an interest similar to mine… photography.
Like everyone else, I strive to create the best images I can in the camera. Along the way I started using photographic filters to help me create the images I had in my mind. I never used special effect filters, which I deemed to be gimmicky, but used the basics like the polarizer, various ND filters and occasionally, light warming filters. As time went on I experimented with more filters and when Singh-Ray introduced the Galen Rowell Graduate ND filters I became very curious as to what they could do to add a new dimension to my imagery.
I bought a set of the Galen Rowell NDs with hard and soft gradations in the strengths I felt were necessary for the type of photography I was doing, but wanted some help. So, I picked up the phone and called Singh-Ray. After asking my questions and a short hold, Bob Singh picked up the phone. I was impressed, really impressed, that the “head honcho” would take the time to talk to someone who he didn’t even know!
This was the start of a wonderful relationship with Bob Singh. I see him at least 3-4 times a year, just to visit and talk about photography and filters. There are, as I have found out, no better filters on the market than Singh-Ray filters and I use them exclusively. I promote them in my workshops and seminars and have introduced them to a number of my friends, including Tony Sweet, Bill Fortney and Deb Sandidge, whom I have taken down to Singh-Ray for a visit.
A few years ago at one of my visits, Bob asked if I was looking for anything special in filters. My response was that I often use the Gold-N-Blue polarizer and sometimes stack it with a diffuser (very slight diffusion) to get a “soft,” yet sharp image. Well, two weeks later I got a call to come pick up my new filter, a Gold-N-Blue with a built in diffuser. Wow! What a great surprise.
Now after a few years and a few revisions, the filter is ready to be put on the market.
Why should you consider this filter? Well, it adds a new dimension to the wonderful effects that the Gold-N-Blue polarizer creates. I like to call it an ethereal glow, a glow, which provides the diffusing effect without appearing to sacrifice sharpness. Pretty incredible!
In today’s world of digital photography, where many folks are adding these effects in post-production, for fine art imagery and more, this effect now can be added in camera with outstanding results.
With the Singh-Ray Wayne Bennett “Smoky Vision” polarizer, you can not only get the diffusing effect while polarizing, but you can take advantage of the color shifts inherent in this filter without polarizing. Either way the effects can be stunning.
The following photos, all taken by Wayne Bennett, demonstrate the types of images you can create with this new Singh-Ray filter.
Orlando Panorama with Singh-Ray Neutral polarizer
Orlando Panorama with Wayne Bennett Smoky Vision diffusing polarizer
The above two images show how dramatic an effect this new polarizer can make, compared to a neutral polarizer.
The images that follow were taken using the new polarizer and are good examples of how this polarizer works. The beauty is that it maintains the qualities of the Gold-N-Blue polarizer, but give the images a slight diffusion effect without significant (if any) loss of sharpness. And you can shift from the gold to the blue spectrum to create whatever effect you want.
Muley Point Vista
This image was taken from Muley Point in SE Utah, some 1,100 feet above the Goosenecks of the San Juan River. The formations in the distance are in Monument Valley, some 20 miles away.
Rapids in Tremont Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The image above and those that follow were taken in the Smoky Mountains. When I shoot streams with rapids, I always include stationary points of reference. The new polarizer enhances the effect of the moving water, but also retains the sharpness in the rocks. I varied the color spectrum from the gold to blue, so as not to have the effect be too overwhelming. There is a slight color variation in all the images, which were all taken at different locations in the park.
Rapids, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Mountain Stream, Great Smoky Mountain National Park
This final image below was taken, taking advantage of the blend between the gold and blue spectrums of the filter and illustrates how wonderfully flexible this new polarizer can be.
Converging Streams, Great Smoky Mountain National Park
The new Singh-Ray Wayne Bennett “Smoky Vision” Diffusing Polarizer in a standard mount (pictured below) sells for $240. A thin-mount version is available for $290. If you are interested in learning more about this new filter or purchasing one, please give us a call at 800-486-5501 or 863-993-4100.
All images (except product photo) ©Wayne Bennett, Wayne Bennett Photography.