Blue-n-Gold to the rescue

One of the things I miss about film (besides the fact that I had a life outside of the computer) is using Velvia. I loved the look and color palette of that film. And I loved using it with the Gold-n-Blue polarizer from Singh-Ray. This filter punches up the blues and golds in a scene, and if used correctly in the right conditions, could make late afternoon magic light much earlier in the day, or punch up the colors in a twilight or sunset scene.

Photo © Bob Krist

So it was one of the filters I turned to right away when I went digital, and it slammed me between the eyes. It didn’t react the same way with digital as it did with film. Here’s what it looks like when it’s used properly with digital.

But that’s not the way it looks on your LCD. The way it looks on your LCD would send you running to the repair shop.  For a look at what a file looks like shot through a Gold-n-Blue Polarizer and how to correct it, hit the jump.

Photo © Bob Krist

While the  Gold-n-Blue looked great on film, when it first comes out of the camera, it looks like this—low contrast with a horrible magenta/red cast over the whole shot. Sure you can clean it up in your RAW processor of choice, but even then the results were very magenta. I thought I had lost one of my favorite tools to the digital revolution, when one day I was really fooling around with the sliders in ACR (my convertor of choice) and stumbled upon the the settings that brought back the ole Gold-n-Blue of memory.  It’s a counterintuitive set of processing instructions, but it works, and here’s the key.


Frankly, I couldn’t believe that these weird settings were working but they were. However, I kept it to myself because I’m no software or processing guru and I was sure this was some sort of anomaly and that I’d be branded a heretic or an idiot if I mentioned it.

Then I read a post on the Singh Ray blog by master landscape shooter and filter maven Darwin Wiggett, and he said he did more or less the same thing. Then and only then, did I feel safe to come out of the closet, so to speak. When it comes to the backshop stuff of digital, I’m one insecure hombre. But I was glad to stumble onto this formula for using the Gold-n-Blue again, because it just gives you a little boost in colors over a regular polarizer, and it brings me back to my Velvia days.

Now, if only I could get some semblance of my free time back from those days, when all I did was shoot and somebody else did all the processing and backshop work…ah well, we can dream, can’t we?

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Great photo Bob! I’ve seen other photos of that waterfall and none are as striking. Cool polarizer as well.

  2. Bob,

    So good to see that you “blog” now! I’m like you, however, I long for the days I didn’t have to be my own processing plant; didn’t sit in front of the computer for hours at a time! Ah well… progress, yes?

    Someday, I swear, I plan on going out and shooting Velvia and digital, using filters and strobes, shooting at different times of the day all in an attempt to really see for myself the similarities and the differences. I’m sure others have already done just this. I just can’t seem to find their results anywhere online!

    Thanks for this info, though. Much appreciated.

  3. Maybe its just me but the “hours” in front of a computer
    never seem as hard as the many hours in a darkroom, Printing over and over wasting countless sheets of paper the smell of hypo etc. I miss the focusing cloth from my 4×5 and 8×10 but not the darkroom.

  4. How can you make a post in your blog talking about photo contests where organizers grabs photographers rights and at the same time be a judge on USA Today contest, where they do exactly the same thing. Did you even read the rules, in particular #8 ?

    8. Copyright. By entering the Contest, each contestant grants to Sponsor an exclusive, royalty-free and irrevocable right and license to publish, print, edit or otherwise use the contestant’s submitted entry, in whole or in part, for any purpose and in any manner or media (including, without limitation, the Internet) throughout the world in perpetuity, and to license others to do so, all without limitation or further compensation. Each contestant further agrees that if his/her entry is selected by Sponsor as the winning entry, he/she will sign any additional license or release that Sponsors may require, and will not publicly display his or her photo submission without the express permission of Sponsor.

    1. Marcelo: Good point. I was invited to judge, but not given a set of rules on the contest. Let me look into it and I’ll keep you posted. I’m in the Indian Ocean now, not back for a while, but I’ll look into it.

  5. amazing image!! and a very helpful hint!
    Gracias, from PR

  6. Bob,
    At a seminar 2 years ago, San Diego, you recomended Jaincotech for slide-to-digital conversion; whom do you recommend, now? I want to convert 10,000 slides of varying quality.

    Thanks again for a great seminar.


  7. I still use Velvia as my professional life does not allow too many phototrips. Gold ‘ blue I recently used at the Forbidden Gardens in Katy,TX. I used it subtle and the Terracotta soldiers warmed up slightly in the poor light that day (no choice there),but it is so natural you would not know a filter was used. Ron

  8. Hi Bob,

    Reading Darwin’s stuff on the Singh Ray site and remembered this that you posted a while back. Do you still use the blue/gold much anymore? Any other examples of its use?

    Considering pulling the trigger on another Singh Ray sprocket filter (or maybe just the cheapo Cokin)


    1. Skunk: I don’t use the G&B as much as I used to, but I’m shooting more people than landscapes these days so that may factor into the equation. Bob

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