Polarising Filters!

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
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  • #34999
    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    My family and I are possibly going away for a holiday next week. Know doubt to a place with some epic scenery, waterfalls, lakes etc. Of course, as a photographer I’m really excited about the chance to photograph some unusual scenery. 🙂 So, wanting to have the best chance of getting photos that are more than just ‘snapshots’, today I finally purchased something that’s been on my wish list for a very long time – a polarising filter! So, I’m pretty excited, but now I need to work out how to use it. lol! I’ve done a bit of research and what I’ve found out so far is that people are saying to never have the sun directly in front or behind you, but at a 90 degree angle, that a tripod is a must have since it the filter cuts out about 2 stops of light, to be careful when using too wide an angle etc. I was wondering what other tips people might have? What situations do people find themselves using polarising filters in the most? When do they not want to use it? Anyway, I know next to nothing about polarising filters, so any advise would be much appreciated! 🙂

    #35000
    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    Oh, and I forgot to say – this is the filter I purchased, so I’m hoping it’s a good one! 😉

    #35001
    Ryan Madaris
    Participant

    Hi Caitlin! Polarizing filters have several uses; they enhance color a bit, and they also can cut down on reflections. I usually use a polarizing filter when shooting waterfalls, or any other body of water that I don’t want reflection on. You can also use a polarizer when there is a blue sky with white clouds, as it will enhance the blue, and make the clouds stand out more.

    That said, I don’t use filters that often, so I’m sure there are many other applications!

    #35003
    blessings captured
    Participant

    I like to use a polarizing filter on rainbows, it really helps the colors come out.

    One question that I’ve had is, does a polarizing filter work when its cloudy?

    #35005
    Logan Lamar
    Participant

    I have a little experience with polarizers—and I think they are loads of fun to work with.

    Yeah, that looks like it’s a decent filter. (Okay, perspective-wise, I have an AmazonBasics CPL filter… ten bucks and cheap, but it’s fun to play with and I can still get polarized results.) I think I was looking into Hoya for a different filter set (ND, I think—I ended up going with something else), but I can’t remember how great it is or isn’t.

    A polarizer is basically reduces all light coming from a specific direction. Light bounces all over the place—a polarizer helps to isolate only the light you want.

    So if I’m shooting a sky, light is bouncing all over it from the sun, and light is bouncing off of the sky at me. So when I look at it on a clear, sunshiney day, it’s a light blue. If I used a CPL filter, I could block a lot of the light coming off of the sky—and I get a darker, deep blue sky. This is really useful when you are shooting a partly cloudy sky. A CPL filter darkens the sky, and leaves the clouds lit up. So I have a very dramatic and high contrast sky.

    A CPL filter also cuts reflections, as @rmadaris was saying. I can turn the filter so it reduces the light coming off of the water. By doing so, I can see past the reflections and glare straight into the water. (This is why people who like to fish wear polarized sunglasses—it helps cut the glare on the water so they can actually and physically see the fish under the surface).

    Bryan Carnathan over at the-digital-picture.com has a good article about CPLs: https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Circular-Polarizer-Filters.aspx

    Hope this helps, and have fun!

    #35006
    Logan Lamar
    Participant

    Oh, and I don’t believe I’ve needed a tripod for my CPL—yes, it does reduce light, but I’m generally the type of guy who only shoots handheld.

    #35008
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    people are saying to never have the sun directly in front or behind you, but at a 90 degree angle

    I wouldn’t necessarily put that down as a hard and fast rule. Rather, just keep in mind that a polarizer’s effect is greatly reduced when pointed directly at or away from the sun.

    And as @loganlamar said, the “rule” about tripods isn’t necessarily hard and fast either. 🙂

    What situations do people find themselves using polarising filters in the most? When do they not want to use it?

    I rarely use one, but when I do it would be to cut reflections in water, or to make the sky “pop”. They work nicely for waterfalls because they cut down on the light, so you can get a slower shutter speed, resulting in a more “silky” water effect, plus they reduce glare on wet rocks and water surfaces.

    One place where I would never use a polarizer is indoors. (Unless there happened to be a very special need to do so). I’ve seen photographers who just always have a polarizer on the end of their lens, and I’m never sure why… 🙂 As you mentioned, it does cut the light down by up to 2 stops, and when you’re indoors you’re more than likely already trying to eke out every bit of light you can get.

    @blessingscaptured said:

    One question that I’ve had is, does a polarizing filter work when its cloudy?

    Not sure I’ve ever tried it, but I would imagine that the effect would be pretty weak… Give it a test, and let us know what your results are! 🙂

    #35097
    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    @rmadaris – Thanks for your thoughts!

    they enhance color a bit, and they also can cut down on reflections. I usually use a polarizing filter when shooting waterfalls, or any other body of water that I don’t want reflection on. You can also use a polarizer when there is a blue sky with white clouds, as it will enhance the blue, and make the clouds stand out more.

    Yes, one of the main reasons I bought it was for when I photograph water. I have a real weakness for water shots! 😉 Plus, I’m excited to see the colours pop.

    #35098
    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    @blessingscaptured

    I like to use a polarizing filter on rainbows, it really helps the colors come out.

    I’ll have to try it. Thanks, Hannah! 🙂

    #35099
    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    @loganlamar – Thanks for all your thoughts on that!

    By doing so, I can see past the reflections and glare straight into the water.

    Sounds cool!

    Bryan Carnathan over at the-digital-picture.com has a good article about CPLs

    Thanks – That was an interesting article!

    Oh, and I don’t believe I’ve needed a tripod for my CPL—yes, it does reduce light, but I’m generally the type of guy who only shoots handheld.

    Ok. Well, I prefer hand-holding, too, except for when taking landscapes. Especially for long exposure shots! In general, tripods help to slow me down and make me do a more purposeful composition. 🙂

    Thanks again!

    #35100
    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    Thanks, @buddingphotographer!

    I wouldn’t necessarily put that down as a hard and fast rule. Rather, just keep in mind that a polarizer’s effect is greatly reduced when pointed directly at or away from the sun.

    Oh. Ok, then! 🙂

    They work nicely for waterfalls because they cut down on the light, so you can get a slower shutter speed, resulting in a more “silky” water effect…

    Yes! A couple of times I haven’t been able to get a slow enough shutter speed when shooting water long exposure shots, so having a couple of stops of light cut out will be good in those situation. 🙂

    #35101
    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    I’ve read on a couple of places that people say to use a filter wrench. They were like, “You HAVE to have one of these otherwise it’ll be a nightmare.” 🙂 What do you guys recon? Do you use these?

    #35191
    Logan Lamar
    Participant

    Personally, I don’t use one and haven’t needed one… yet. I think if your filter is high quality (like from B&W—and Hoya looks like it’s of good quality), you probably aren’t going to need one as much as if you have one of lower quality. If you have a cheap filter, though, it might get stuck on your lens, and that’s why those people are saying you need one.

    Then again, they’re cheap ($5-15 USD)—and having a 10-stop ND filter stuck on your lens for the rest of your weekend would really stink. It might be a good thing to have on hand just in case.

    #35192
    Logan Lamar
    Participant

    Again, the-digital-picture.com talks about these:
    https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Lens-Filter-Wrench-Review.aspx

    #35201
    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    does a polarizing filter work when its cloudy?

    Yes.

    Also, if the sky is just a blank blue color, I generally don’t use a Polarizer. It works better if there are puffy white clouds in the sky. https://www.lenspiration.com/2013/10/when-not-to-use-a-polarizer/

    Have fun with the family on your holiday!

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