Friday, March 25, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Polarizers are a must have for every outdoor and sports photographer. The type of polarizer I will be discussing is a circular polarizer (CP), designed specifically for digital cameras.
A polarizing filter removes much of the reflective light from non-metallic surfaces, water / water particles. As a result you can get:
- Brighter skies: depending on the angle to your light source / sun, blue skies will appear more saturated.
- Reduced reflective light: a CP will reduce the reflective light on water bodies / waves, giving you a more transparent view of water bodies. A good example is the iconic photo of the Maroon Bells from Maroon Lake. Photographers will line the east shoreline and capture images of the Maroon Bells and lake. Many of the images you see with highly visible underwater rocks near the shoreline were shot using a CP...again, making the water more transparent.
- Color enhancement: a CP will remove much of the reflective light from foliage or other "shiny" surfaces, bringing out a more saturated / rich color.
Drawbacks: there are a couple of drawbacks to using a CP:
- Because a CP is most effective at a 90 degree angle from your dslr, you will get varied results if using a CP when taking a panorama with a wide angle lens (like a 14-24mm) or a multi-image pano.
How to use:
A simple way to use a CP is with your subject between 0 to 90 degrees from the sun, rotate the outer CP ring until you get the desired result. You will notice deeper, richer colors as you rotate the CP.
A quick guide to determining how effective your shot will be using a CP is form your hand like a gun. With a 90 degree angle between your thumb and finger, point your thumb towards the sun. The direction of the finger will likely be the most effective use of a CP.