Thursday, October 1, 2009


Two posts in one day!

Just a quick update. We did go to Calumet, but they were out of pretty much everything. The woman behind the counter (who aside from being just adorable is, more importantly, also a highly-skilled photographer and a most expert salesperson) exclaimed, twice, "Oh, I'm waiting for one of those too!" when asked for something. The only thing we ended up buying was a packet of Brilliant Museum photo paper for my wife to play with. I just looked in my stash and I had a packet, but I already used some of it and I think she wants to do some comparison prints.

So I went on their website and ordered the stuff I wanted. They're switching filter manufacturers (their old manufacturer is Hoya, which produces material in Japan, and their new one is B+W, which produces material in Germany.) So their store-brand filters are largely on clearance - I got a circular polarizer for my wife for less than half price, and a 2-stop ND filter for both of us ditto. The only thing back-ordered was a .6 graduated ND filter I want mainly so my wife can do landscape work with it. They're back-ordered EVERYWHERE, for some reason. Not that I mind waiting, it's just odd. I guess that the recession hasn't hurt demand for 2-stop graduated ND filters. Go figure.

In case you wonder why I need all these ND filters, the regular 2-stop ones are essentially a way to restrict the amount of light that gets into the camera so you can slow down your exposure, or open up your aperture, even in bright light. There comes a point where, if you're outdoors in full sun, even at ISO 100 equivalent sensitivity, you just can't use a long shutter speed and/or a large aperture because the camera just can't handle all the light. This filter is essentially sunglasses for your camera, reducing light intake without affecting color. The back-ordered one is graduated - at one end, it's clear, and at the other, it's 2 stops darker, and from one end to the other it gradually gets darker or lighter depending on which way it's turned. This allows you to shoot things of extremely different brightness without blowing one side out, or making the other side too dark. The classical application for this is shooting landscapes - you hold the filter so that the light end is toward the ground and the dark end is toward the sky. Then you can still have a rich blue sky and a well-exposed ground.

We also went to the Blick store down the road from Calumet (interestingly, both Calumet stores in Illinois have a Blick store down the road) and she got a sheet of silver foil matboard. She looked pretty funny holding it in her lap all the way home, but we were in my truck and I was afraid it would get wet and/or beaten up if we put it in the back. (It has been raining here all day.) She plans to experiment with this for black and white pictures.


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