UNDERSTANDING THE NEED FOR A POLARIZING FILTER

THE POLARIZING FILTER!

One of the most valuable pieces of equipment you can own, to take magnificent landscape photos.

Learn how this works in this article:

All great photographers know the value of a polarizing filter. It magically makes the scenery photos come alive with their natural color. When seeing the differences of before and after photos, you will know right away how important this one accessory can be.

JUST WHAT IS POLARIZED LIGHT?

Trying to find an easy way to describe polarized light has been challenging to say the least. But, I like this definition of polarized light, that maybe we can all understand why we need this filter:

The light tends to move more uniformly rather than scattering all over the place, and it comes at you horizontally or vertically. This is polarized light, which we experience as glare, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

ACO

IN PHOTOGRAPHY, WE HAVE A POLARIZING FILTER TO CURE THIS PROBLEM:

The standard polarizer filter will just screw in to the front of your lens. It is mounted on a ring that you can rotate the filter to get the best optimization of the polarized light.

EXAMPLES OF WHEN TO USE THIS FILTER:

Winter photos will be so much better with a polarizer filter

EXAMPLE 1

Note: as you look at the above photo, how much bluer the skies are, but the snow is also more detailed because the reflections that are on the snow are gone. Polarizing filters eliminate anything that reflects light, except for metal. There is dust floating in the sky, and the polarizing filter cuts out all the reflections off the dust particles, and that’s why the skies are more vivid in color.

Want to get better detail under the water, then use a polarizing filter

EXAMPLE #2

The above example shows how well the polarizing filter will work shooting through water. Reflections are cut off the surface, and thus you get better detail through the water.

Using polarizing filters for portraits? YES, it’s an amazing how well they turn out.

EXAMPLE 3

Most faces have a certain amount of oil on the skin, and the polarizing filter cuts through those reflections and give you amazing skin tones.

Like the above winter photo, look what a polarizing filter will do to your scenery photo

EXAMPLE 4

In a regular sunny day, the landscape will have reflections on all green things, the sky, the clouds, the roads, etc. Use a polarizing filter for all your scenery photos.

Closeup of how the polarizing filter acts on plants. This would include trees, grass, shrubs, flowers, etc.

EXAMPLE 5

I love this photo because it shows in great detail the reflections on leaves. Now eliminate the reflections with your polarizing filter, and you have beautiful green foliage. And this includes all foliage and grass.

NOW YO CAN SEE HOW IT WORKS

The above diagram shows exactly how it works. Keep in mind these 2 things:

1- The filter has a dark grey color to it, and cuts the light coming down to your sensor by half. You should buy a “circular polarizer” and then your light meter reading should still be accurate.

2- If you are trying to keep a certain Fstop to create the right depth of field in your photo, you may need to adjust your ISO on your camera to compensate for the drop in light coming through your lens.

You can pick up a polarizing filter from your favorite camera store. Some are made of better glass that the others, so don’t buy the cheapest filter. The better the glass, the better your photo. I am not going to endorse any filter brands on this blog, but, just let it be known, that you shouldn’t spend the least amount on this filter.

For more detailed information about a polarizing filter and other accessories, go to: https://123photogo.com/complete-photo-courses/


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NOW, YOU CAN ORDER TIFFEN BRAND POLARIZING FILTERS HERE: JUST ORDER THE SIZE THAT FITS YOUR LENS. NOT SURE WHERE TO LOOK? LOOK AT THE BACK OF YOUR LENS CAP. THAT WILL TELL YOU THE SIZE TO ORDER.

POLARIZING FILTERS FOR SALE:

Select product to view

49mm-pola

49mm Tiffen polarizing filter

Tiffen 49mm polarizing filter for the best way to improve your photos.

$34.95


49mm-pola-1

52mm Tiffen polarizing filter

One of the best filters you can buy! Tiffen 52mm polarizing filter.

$39.95


49mm-pola-2

55mm Polarizing filter by Tiffen

Tiffen 55mm Polarizing filter, to improve your photos.

$42.95


49mm-pola-3

58mm Tiffen Polarizing filter

58mm Polarizing Filter, for the best way to improve your photos.

$48.95


49mm-pola-4

62mm polarizing filter by Tiffen

Tiffen 62mm polarizing filter to improve your photos naturally.

$48.95


49mm-pola-5

67mm Tiffen Polarizing filter

Tiffen 67mm polarizing filter to vastly improve your photos naturally.

$50.00

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

USING “POLARIZING FILTERS” pt. 1

Polarizing filter: without, and with.

Today’s subject is “why you should use a polarizing filter for all your scenery shots”, and part 2 tomorrow is: “When you shouldn’t use a polarizing filter”.

I have checked with a lot of professional photographers who take pictures of landscapes and scenery pictures. And I think almost all of them use a “circular polarizing filter”. And here is a list of the reasons why you should use a “circular polarizing filter”:

  1. The filter eliminates reflections off anything that reflects.
  2. The dust in the air reflects light, and causes a washed out look. Using the polarizing filter eliminates all the reflections of dust in the air, giving you bluer skies.
  3. Removes reflection even on glass
  4. All plants and mountains and grass all do a certain amount of reflections. Using a polarizing filter will make all growing things have a richer natural color.
  5. They also increase contrast in the sky by removing the reflections from dust and unknown particles in the sky.
TOMORROW, I WILL GO OVER THE REASONS WHEN YOU SHOULD NOT USE A POLARIZING FILTER.
Notice how reflections are cut off dramatically when using a polarizing filter.
Our own eyes see the photo on the left, with the reflections. Many fisherman buy Polarizing sunglasses so they can see the fish in the water. But, look at the photo on the right and see how the colors are enhanced, especially the sky.

The polarizing filter is a screw on filter that would just use the threads on the front of your lens. Once you have the right size circular polarizing filter on your lens, you will notice, that it can rotate. This is the part where you actually “Polarize the light” coming through your lens. And because you can see it through the camera, you just turn the filter until it gives you the perfect colors, and contrast that is really there for you to enjoy.

Imagine what a polarizing filter will do for your flower photos too!

Are there differences in polarizing filters? Yes, between brands, there is a difference and you should get a good name brand filter. If you don’t know what is a good brand, then contact me on my email at: contact.123photogo@gmail.com.

I have one photo, that I have taken with a polarizing filter. Hope you can see how beautiful a photo will turn out using this filter in your landscape photos:

Photo by Lanny Cottrell —- using a polarizing filter.