Wednesday, May 21, 2014

# 8 - Weekly Chronicle and Photo Album of our current two-year trip across the U.S. and Canada in our RV with our Ricoh/Pentax equipment. This week, South of the Border, with my Pentax K-3 and a circular Polarizer Filter.


 Hi Photographer friends,

When I was living in Montreal, we would drive to Florida each year for vacation. Driving to our destination would bring us on Interstate 95 which runs North/South from  New England to Florida. For as long as I can remember, an highway rest area/oasis called "South of the Border" has been in business at the border of North and South Carolina. 

What is interesting, is that billboards announce the place for about a hundred miles from each direction. There must be several hundred  signs all along the highway. They get more frequent and bigger the closer you get to the place. I remember the first time we drove to Florida, we thought that South of the Border would be a gigantic amusement park or something similar. To our surprise, the place wasn't much more than a gas station, a restaurant and a small motel. We couldn't figure how the place could be profitable. The price of the signs was undoubtedly many times more expensive than the place itself. Today's South of the Border is much bigger and has a lot more to offer.

We drove the same highway a few weeks ago, from Florida to Maryland and back.

We are on a cross Country RV adventure for the next few years. We left our fifth wheel in Florida and drove to Maryland with our tow vehicle "Ruby". We have a daughter living there with her husband and my grandson. We stayed with them for almost two weeks. We had a great time. 

On our way back, I shared my Pentax K-3 with my wife "Anne" and decided to document the portion of road that leads to the South of the Border place. We took hundreds of images, but for this blog,  ten images are more appropriate.

I always give myself assignments when I take pictures and this time the assignment was to use a circular polarizer for all images. A polarizer darkens the blue skies and eleminate reflection. By doing so, it also makes the colors bolder. Many photographers discourage the use of polarizers with digital cameras as it requires a larger aperture of a faster shutter speed in some conditions. A polarizer will indeed block some of the light. Although skies can be darkened with Photoshop, the effect isn't quite the same. The only situation where I discourage the use of a polarizer is with ultra wide angle lens. Because the angle of view is so large, only part of the sky can be darkened.

The end result for our essay turned out fairly good. The images below do show darker skies and the colors are bolder while still looking natural. I have one circular polarizer filter and I chose to purchase a 77 mm in diameter. That way, I can use it on all my lenses with an adapter. Have you checked the price of these filters?  I doubt that you want to purchase once for each lens you own with various filter sizes.

Similar billboards were erected along the road, just a few miles apart from each other.

Someone with great imagination and humor created these signs.

This kind of advertisement has to be very expensive.

This is what you see when entering South of the Border.

"Pedro" is the mascot of the land.

Plenty of souvenirs available, however I would have liked to see more USA made souvenirs.

You can see the advantage of using the polarizer in this image taken by my wife. The sky is true blue and there are practically no reflection from the shiny painted elephant.

This is "Ruby". Notice how little reflection and bold red the truck is!

This is the giant Pedro. Dark blue skies possible with the filter.

You can really see the contrast that the filter produced in this image.

Want to know more about the history of South of the Border?

Thank you for reading. Keep using you Pentax equipment. Pentax is gaining on the competition. I'm glad that Ricoh took Pentax under it's wings.

Yvon Bourque

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