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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Circular Polarizer

After posting a complex shot that involved the sun and fog and the sun was a bit overpowering, a friend recommended that I get a Circular Polarizing filter.  I research them a bunch before buying one.  I've used it a bunch and it's saved my butt several times.  When I mention them to fellow photographers, either they love them or have never heard of them.  A CP filter has two elements, one is fixed and the other can rotate.  You look through the viewfinder and rotate the outer ring until you get the desired effect. 

Some CP's take down the light a stop or two, depending on the manufacturer.  Some CP's come with their own lens cover.  I think using a different lens cap is a deal breaker for me.  The last thing I want is another thing to keep track of. 

Here are two identical shots, one taken with the CP in 'normal' mode and one taken in maximum blocking mode.  A much simpler way to think about this is, I took the first shot without sunglasses and the second shot, I had my Ray-Ban's on.  Check out the footprints.  In the first shot, they're lost. 



Canon EF-S 10-22mm f3.4-3.5 USM lens
10mm Focal Length
Exposure 1/320 sec @ f11
ISO 200
Curves adjusted

But wait, there's more!  Here are two more shots same deal, shot with the 24-105.



Canon EF 24-105mm L f4 IS USM lens
24mm Focal Length
Exposure 1/60 sec @ f5.6
ISO 200
Curves adjusted for contrast


earnest said...

Very interesting. I have a polarizer that does help in some situations but I don't use it a lot. Great info.

James said...

Thanks Wayne. I really need to give mine another try.

I bet a motorcycle would make some of the rural shots easier to get. When theres no place to park or stop I wish that I had one. :)

Marilla said...

I found that information very interesting too. In the first pair I thought the "no CP" is better but my opinion changed in the second pair - the CP is much better and it shows the details well.

Woody said...

Earnest, Anytime I'm shooting in sunlight, I have the CP on the lens. As soon as the camera comes out of the bag, and it's sunny, I install the filter.

Woody said...


The m/c can help get in places, but, I still need to stop and park to get the camera out of my saddlebag. I've been looking for some type of strap that would allow me to ride with it readily available.

Woody said...


In the first pair, with the filter, you can see the footprints in the snow. Without the CP, they are lost. It's very subtle.

Rebecca said...

Ya know, I have one of these filters and never really figured it out. I should get it out again and see what I can do.

MikesHandsSay said...


I really enjoy the 4th shot. I need to investigate more time into the CP + ICE thing.

Side note, my CP filter, I'm pretty sure only has 1 element. might want to check, maybe CP filter have changed!

Final note: I haven't used this system, but it seems like it might fit the bill for riding and keeping the camera handy.


Dot said...

Too cool! Love the info sharing...always great to learn something new. I totally love the shot with the footprints leading into the effect :o)

David said...

It becomes you best friend when shooting outdoors! I use one all the time.

cieldequimper said...

Uh huh. It does make a whale of a difference.

Marka said...

Looks like you're having a good bit of fun with that polarizer.