Monday, 13 June 2011

Using a Polarising Filter

Remember to click the images for a larger view

A couple of months ago I decided to purchase a Circular Polarising filter. I’d been reading a lot about the Polariser but I’d never actually owned one myself.

Although there’s a lot to be said for the way in which the Polariser enriches the colours in an image it was the filter’s effect on reflected light that interested me.  I’d seen a few imaged in magazines where reflected light had been all but removed by correctly using a Polariser. Thie was especially useful when taking photographs containing water or glass. Being principally interested in Landscapes and structures the thought of being able to reduce reflected glare really appealed.

My problem was that, as with most people these days, cash is not exactly free flowing and some of these filters come with a pretty hefty price tag on them.  It was a ‘Catch 22’ situation.  I wanted to try a Polariser but didn’t want to spend the earth until I’d seen what they could do first hand.
I have several different lenses and they all have different filter threads so I decided to purchase a Polariser that would fit my Cokin P-series filter holder.  I’ve already got the adaptor rings for all my lenses so by buying a Cokin style filter I’d get a one-filter-fits-all solution.

Looking around I settled on the Kood P Series Circular Polariser Filter which I got from Crooked Imaging for £26. When the filter arrived I was pleased with the quality and decided to try it at the first opportunity.

 took the images below during a walk along the river Trent in Ingleby near Derby.  In this first image I could see the plants lurking below the water surface being moved by the flowing current. I decided to try to photograph them without the Polariser just to see if I could get any reasonable results. As you can see, the plants are just visible.

No Polarising Filter

This second image was taken with the Polariser fitted into the filter holder. As the filter is circular it’s easy to rotate it in order to get the best effect. It took a few minutes to get the filter into the right position to remove the surface reflections from the water but I feel it was time well spent as the plants beneath the surface are now clearly visible.

With Polarising Filter

I repeated the process above with these next two images. The first was taken without the filter fitted and once again the reflection of the light on the water is very prominent and, whilst quite striking, it wasn’t the result I was after.

No Polarising Filter

This second image was taken with the filter fitted and rotated to reduce the reflection to a minimum. In my opinion a much more pleasing and interesting result with the river bed clearly visible.

With Polarising Filter

As with all photography, beauty is 'in the eye-of-the-beholder’ and the effects of the filter might not be for everyone but for me the effects of the Polarising Filter are quite significant and I’m glad I’ve now got one to use. I’m not sure what adding another £100+ to the price tag would do for the images but for now that’s something I’m just going to have to wonder about !!

Next time….. my first attempts at photo restoration. 

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