WHEN NOT TO USE A POLARIZING FILTER, Part 2

Wow! Look how nice a polarizing filter works on faces.

WHAT DOES A POLARIZING FILTER DO?

Circular Polarizer Comparison
A polarizer reduces reflected light before it enters your lens.

Now we have the definition and ideas of what a great job a Polarizing filter will do, we find out that there are times when you don’t want to use a polarizing filter:

WHEN THE REFLECTED LIGHT HAS COLOR:

When NOT to use a Polarizer for landscape photography sunset image

Looking at this beautiful photo, you can see the beautiful reflections on the rocks, and the water. A polarizing filter would have eliminated those reflections. So, before you use a polarizing filter, make sure you really want to eliminate something that could be worth keeping.

WHEN YOU REALLY WANT THAT SUPER WET LOOK:

When not to use circular polarizers waterfalls on rock

In this photo, if the photographer would have used a polarizing filter, he would have eliminated the glare on the rocks, which actually in this case, makes it look wet. Just an added plus to have it in there.

WHEN THE LIGHT HAS GONE DOWN, OR IN A COMPLETE SHADED AREA:

Waterfall in the rainforest

This photo was actually taken after the sun went down, very slow shutter speed, and there is no reflections. You might as well remove the lens then.

The same would be for night photography. If there was a full moon, and you were taking pictures, there might be some reflection from the moon.

WHEN YOU ACTUALLY WANT REFLECTIONS IN THE WATER:

Waterfall at Silver Falls State Park

Here’s where you want the best of both worlds.

Let’s say you like the look of your image with the polarizer on. Your colors are nicely saturated and all of the glare has been reduced from the surfaces, but you’re annoyed to see that the lovely reflections in the water have either vanished or diminished.

What do you do?

The simple answer is to take two shots – one with the polarizer engaged and another without the polarizer.

Then you can blend the two exposures in Photoshop and take the best elements from each.

WHEN YOU WANT TO SHOOT RAINBOWS:

landscape photography of field with wind mill with rainbow
Photo by Paweł Fijałkowski on Pexels.com

I’m sure I’ll be corrected by our more well-educated readers, but from a polarizer’s standpoint, a rainbow is reflected light.

So if your polarizer is engaged, the rainbow will perform a disappearing act in your photo.

Disengage or remove the polarizer and – presto! – the rainbow will be back in your photograph.

CONCLUSION:

Yesterday we did the blog on the pros of using a polarizing filter, and then today, we talked about situations where it would be good not to use the polarizer.

This just shows me that when you look at a scene, look at it carefully and see if you need to make necessary changes to make it look it’s best. Always study it out before you press the button.

NOTE: for obvious reasons, a polarizing filter is something you can use on lenses that are interchangeable. They do not make polarizing filters for cell phones.


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PHOTOGRAPHIC INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE OF THE DAY:

The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it!

Ansel Adams

Published by 123photogo

I have been a photographer for many years. Worked in retail selling cameras and accessories for over 20 years. Taught many photo classes, and have even been a judge in several county fairs. Now, I want to share photo instructions and entertainment with all other photographers around the world.

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