Taming Surface Reflections with a Polarizer Filter

by on Sep 12, 2014 in Tips' n Tricks | 7 Comments

A polarizing filter has been permanently attached to my lens for so long that I simply take it for granted. I rarely remove it but yet continue to be surprised during those condititions that demonstrate just how magical and dramatic the effect can be. Using a polarizing filter can have more impact and value than the lens itself.

The following two images were created minutes apart with different polarizing intensities. The contrast and saturation in the wet sand is significant.

Polarized

Polarized

Not Polarized

Not Polarized

Below is one more example from a slightly hazy day of flying. From 1000 feet above, a polarizer can cut back those reflections, giving us a great view of the ocean floor.

Polarized

Polarized

Not Polarized

Not Polarized

About the Author

I am a designer, artist and photographer living in PEI and the co-creator of the Photographer's Guide to Prince Edward Island. I have helped design this website and the many oopoomoo ebooks. Stop by and say hi on Facebook.

7 Comments

  1. Jens
    September 12, 2014

    Hello,

    What brand of circular polarizer do you use? There are so many on the market, which one do you find gives you good results with your images?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Markos Berndt
      September 13, 2014

      That looks like a warming polarizer. Although I cannot speak for the author, I like the Singh-Ray circular warming polarizer, I also have a regular polarizer that is from Formatt / Hitech.

    • Stephen DesRoches
      September 14, 2014

      For the first comparison, I was using a “B+W 77mm Kaesemann XS-Pro Circular Polarizer MRC Nano Filter”. It costs a bit more but I needed a thin profile to work with my custom 3D printed filter holder.

      The second comparison was using an older and thicker “B+W 77mm F-Pro Circular Polarizer MRC Filter”.

      I’ve also used Hoya filters without any problems.

  2. ANTONIO BIGGIO
    September 12, 2014

    Hello, have you used the vario nd trio or the golden-blu?
    in your book you mention the too.
    Unfortunately it’s impossible to me add this type of filter because i use the lee holder and gnd lee with the polarizer, and it require a 105 mm ring (have you a suggestion?).
    Just another question about white balance of these type if polarizer (trio and Gold-blu): you use a custom wb? i think that auto doesn’t work because neutralize the warm-cool effect.
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Darwin Wiggett
      September 15, 2014

      I have used the Singh-Ray vario-n-trio and the Singh-Ray Gold-n-Blue Polarizer. Both are specialty filters that only come in screw in sizes and so won’t fit in the Cokin Z-Pro filter holder or the Lee holder. To get around this I use the Cokin Z173 Blue-Yellow polarizer (which does the same thing as the Gold-n-Blue). I then combine this with either a 4-stop or 10-stop ND filter. I use the Singh-Ray Z-Pro sized LB warming polarizer in my Cokin Z-Pro holder or in the Lee holder and combine it with solid ND filters to give me an effect similar to the Var-n-Trio.

  3. Taming Surface Reflections with a Polarizer Filter — Orenco Photography Club
    September 17, 2014

    […] A polarizing filter has been permanently attached to my lens for so long that I simply take it for granted. I rarely remove it but yet continue to be surprised during those conditions that demonstrate just how magical and dramatic the effect can be. Using a polarizing filter can have more impact and value than the lens itself. MORE… […]

    Reply
  4. Guy Kerr
    September 17, 2014

    Just back from Moab and Mesa Verde area. I found the polarizer helped make the petroglyphs and pictographs standout more.

    Guy

    Reply

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