BetterPhoto Online Instructor
I find myself using a polarizing filter less than I used to. But with shiny leaves and glare in the swiftly flowing streams, spring is when I use my polarizer the most.
NOTE: A polarizer is not On/Off. Many people always tend to max out their polarizer. Turn the ring and take several exposures at several levels of polarization.
It's important to know exactly what you want to polarize: sky, water, leaves, windows, reflections. There will be trade-offs. Here's more:
- Polarizing a blue sky with a wide angle lens (< 50mm) does look great in the eye piece, but will result in light/ dark patching when you see it on the computer.
- Fully polarizing flowing streams can tend to take out the flow lines, which are glare, resulting in what will appear to be static water.
- Polarizing wet leaves is one of the most practical uses of polarizers, however, there are no hard and fast rules, and most times, a little glare can be your friend, increasing the feeling of depth.
- Polarizing windows and reflections, if maxed out, can turn the window black, which may be desirable, and can polarize out a reflection. If reflections are your subject, like in a flowing stream, consider putting the polarizer away.
--Pro photographer Tony Sweet teaches many online photography courses at BetterPhoto.com, including A Quick Start to Adding More 'Pop' to Your Images, High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography, Image Design: Revealing Your Personal Vision, and Fine Art Flower Photography.
--Also, Tony contributed a number of beautiful images to the how-to book, The BetterPhoto Guide to Photographing Light, co-authored by Jim Miotke and Kerry Drager.
--This "Filter Reminder: The Polarizer" tip is from Tony'sVisual Artistry Newsletter.