7701 Haskell Avenue
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Effective: February 28, 2015
Semaan Relies on Schneider-Kreuznach B+W Filters for Award-winning Shots
When photographer Michael Semaan shoots outdoors, chances are there’s a B+W neutral density and circular polarizing filter on the front of his Leica. “I always carry a 3, 6 and 10-stop B+W ND and a circular polarizer, that makes the colors pop and cuts through surface glare.”
While a 10-stop neutral density filter may sound extreme, Semaan described how it came into play on his ocean scape photograph, “Flow”, which has been recognized as a Leica Fotografie International Master Shot. He caught this iconic time exposure of a wave-washed rock-outcropping near Queens Bath, just offshore of the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
“I looked at this place and I saw crazy waves crashing on it,” said Semaan, “and I knew I didn’t want to just freeze frame it, I wanted it to have this pillowy, cotton candy, cascade effect. I was looking at my watch as these swells came in, and it took about 10 to 15 seconds between swells. I calculated the exposure in my head. I knew where I wanted to be from an exposure time, and I knew I wanted to have a deep depth of field. I captured this image at F/11 for 15 seconds at ISO 100. That took a 10-stop ND filter and the polarizer.”
The result is spectacular. Parts of the rock and the sky behind that don’t move are crisp and sharp, and where the water is moving across the mound has a smeared, cloud-like look.
For many of his photographs, Semaan prefers to use his Leica S Medium Format DSLR camera and lenses because of the larger sensor size. He said the larger camera does require even more attention to eliminating camera movement.
“When I’m shooting on a tripod I’ll lock the mirror up, because the Leica S has a big mirror. And then I’ll utilize the 2-second delay, and press the shutter release with my finger and then I’ll stand back and let it do its thing, to minimize any kind of vibration. That way I’m not touching or holding the camera in any way while it’s capturing the image.”
Semaan says there are a lot of choices when it comes to buying camera filters, but he likes to stick with B+W glass. “I tried other filters years ago, and they just don’t hold up to B+W, whether it’s the true neutral density gray filter with absolutely no color cast, or the Circular Polarizer. With lesser filters the exposure latitude is all over the place—just so unpredictable. I am never sure how many stops am I gaining or losing by rotating the polarizer. If I’m using top-notch equipment like Leica cameras and lenses, I’m not going to put an inferior glass or resin substrate right in front of my lenses to degrade the image quality.”
For more information: contact Schneider Optics, 7701 Haskell Avenue, Van Nuys, CA 91406, telephone (818) 766-3715; fax (818) 505-9865; or at: 285 Oser Avenue, Hauppauge, NY 11788, telephone (800) 645-7239/(631) 761-5000, fax (631) 761-5090; www.schneideroptics.com
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