Shooting and Waiting

It’s November 19 and temps in the Salt Lake valley are supposed to reach into the mid 60s today. Uhh…hello!? Mama Nature where hast thou gone? I was in full winter mode two weeks ago. Now I’m stuck in the in between. You know what else is stuck in the in between? Everywhere. Everywhere I point my camera it’s a mess of brown, leafless, colorless bleh.

Fog rolls over Salt Lake City's Captiol Building at sunset

Fog rolls over Salt Lake City

Regardless, I have been out a bit trying to shoot more fly fishing. If you haven’t had opportunity to check it out yet, visit to see inspiring imagery, video and short stories from many of fly fishing’s greats. Be prepared to spend a good 30 min. on this site–it sucks you in. I’m preparing for a winter photo essay I will have in the next issue. That would require…snow. Here’s to an end to high pressure. Let it snow.

Mike Ruzek fly fishing at sunrise on the Middle Provo River

Mike Ruzek fly fishing at sunrise on the Middle Provo River

Published: Skiing Magazine, Dec. 08

Just received an early copy of the December issue of Skiing Magazine to find three of my images published. In a word: STOKED!! This is the first time any of my ski images have been published in one of the big ski pubs, and I am elated. Check out the contents page for a full page image, as well as two half-page images in their “Best of the Year” photo gallery. As friend and fellow (very good) photographer Justin Cash put it, “It makes all that hard work and cold toes feel like it was worth it”. These are terrible scans, but they’ll suffice. On a related note, it just snowed nearly 4 feet in the Cottonwood Canyons, and this photographer is going to make a test run tomorrow. Sweet.

Skiing Magazine Contents Page, December 2008 Skiing Magazine Best of the Year Photo Gallery, December 2008 Skiing Magazine Best of the Year Photo Gallery, December 2008

New Singh Ray Vari-N-Duo

I’ve been using Singh Ray filters ever since I actually started getting serious about photography. For the first couple of years, I chose to go with a lesser grade filter and my images were “lesser grade” as can be expected. Singh Ray has just released a brand new filter incorporating the Vari-ND and their LB warming polarizer into one filter. In a word: awesome. Check out my review below.

In my (humble) opinion, a great or meaningful image is separated from a good or forgettable image by subtleties. It’s the little things that make a big difference, and in a world where so many photographers have access to the best equipment available, it becomes even more important to separate yourself from the pack through creative vision and flawless execution.

The Vari-N-Duo is a filter that allows your creative juices to “fill to overflowing”. It gives you options when in the field, and most importantly, it allows you to produce images previously impossible to create, or very difficult to execute.

When I arrived at this scene near the headwaters of the Henry’s Fork River in Idaho, I was struck by the juxtaposition of swaying grasses, fleeting clouds and this sturdy log that likely hadn’t moved since it hit the earth. This was the perfect opportunity to test out my new Vari-N-Duo.

Employing this filter, I was able to lengthen my exposure to six seconds, thus capturing the movement in the grasses bordering the log, and give just the slightest bit of movement to the clouds in the sky. This combination of movement and still detail makes for an engaging image, one that begs to be inspected, studied and (hopefully) appreciated.

The subtle difference in this image, for me, lies in the slightest improvement in FG detail as well as the darkening of the sky—both attributable to the polarizer in the Vari-N-Duo, which removed the natural sheen from the foliage/log and allowed the clouds to pop just enough to complete this image. To some, this may seem insignificant, but to me, this is what separates those that truly aspire to perfection with their imagery, from those content with the status quo. I also used a 3-stop Singh Ray Reverse ND Grad to hold detail in the sky and keep the highlights in check.

For me, the Vari-N-Duo is not the answer for every image, but it offers up countless opportunities to flex your creative muscles behind the lens, and come away with images that are likely to make a lasting impression on the viewer.
Henry's Fork River with Singh Ray Vari-N-Duo