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  1. #1
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    Circular Polorizer?

    Hey All,

    Photography question. I'm leaving for Barbados in 2 weeks. I have just about everything I need photography wise. Except for Circular Polorizers. I'm still new to photography so was wondering how important will it be to use them down there. I never used them before. Can I get away without them? Also, If I do get them should I install them over the UV filter or take the UV off first?

    Thanks

    P4C
    Last edited by Aguaholic; Jan 22, 2009 at 12:44 PM.

  2. #2
    I think you definitely definitely want to get a circular polarizer. They are an absolute must when shooting around water.

    Just think about how much glare there is and how blown out everything looks on a sunny day at the beach without sunglasses. That is what your sensor will see without a polarizer.

    You take your UV filter off and then put on the polarizer.

    Here is a pic without a polarizer.


    Here is a pic with the polarizer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Damn, that's a major difference in the pictures. Guess I need one for each lens.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Like what he said, polarizers make a big difference. I'm not sure about the difference between circular and linear (haven't used both) but they take a glare off the water. Also they really darken the blues of the sky and make it dramatic.

    As for taking the UV off, I haven't noticed much of a difference. I usually keep the UV on all the time. (Keeps lens from getting scratched, dirt... etc)

    Aside from that, you might want to look into a neutral density filter. They also make a big impact on the color of the sky. nd grads are nice because its a gradient, so you can move it around the lens to pull out the contrast in the sky or on the ground... etc.

    One other that I really like is the warming filters... just brightens your day.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Filter Options

    As TBing and Old Guy (notice I didn't use "Fat") suggested, a polarizer around water is the single best way to cut water surface glare. Beyond that, they tend to really make clouds Pop against a dramatically darker Blue sky (still sort of a glare issue) sort of like a red or yellow filter does for Black and White film. It also makes for more saturation in your tones. As for UV filters, while they sound like a vital color range controller, most people use them more just to physically protect the Lens glass from the elements. Like TBing said, the difference in image is barely noticable, but one grain of sand floating on your glass lens can get very costly, but if that grain of sand happens to be on the filter, it's a really cheap replacement. Hence, the notion of keeping a UV filter on the lens all the time to protect your investment. Basically, take care of your equipment, and it will take care of you.

    One item of concern when you asked about stacking filters. Don't go cheap on the Polarizer because cheaper ones are usually physically thicker (filter mount) and if you start stacking them, you eventually wind up with vignetting. Dark shadows all around the perimeter of your shots. This symptom is far more evident at wider angles on a zoom than with it zoomed all the way in. It's also more evident at wider apertures than at narrower ones (f3.5 as opposed to f16) because of the subsequent shallower depth of field (you're effectively using more of the lens so it sees the effect of the stacked filters tending to narrow your field of view.

    Old Guy's examples are a very good example of with and without a Polarizer. The beauty of the circular polarizer is you can actually dial it in to greater, or lesser effect. Light polarity is affected by both time of day and the angle of the light, and the surfaces reflecting the light.

    This shot was a late afternoon swell we had last March in OCM. Notice the deep dark sky and the crisp look of the whites from the crest and the soup. Notice also that there are still reflections on the right face of the wave, but detail is maintained in the dark areas as well.

    You might be able to see more of what I'm talking about with this link- Once you get to the link, click on the lower right side of the image where it says, "View Full Size Image," to blow it up to a larger size. The problem then is you'll have to scan around the image.
    http://www.wetsand.com/photos/pd/200...land-8893.html

    So, are you going to Barbados to learn to surf? Sorry, but I couldn't resist. Have fun, and bring back lots of images to help us all pass the winter doldrums.
    Last edited by MDSurfer; Jan 23, 2009 at 12:49 AM.

  6. #6
    It took me a while to find this one, but this was shot in the middle of a very sunny afternoon in Ocean City last summer. I think the polarizer did a great job controlling the glare.


  7. #7
    Join Date
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    thanks everyone for the replies. I'll be leaving on the 10th....and should return with some sick shots.